The Zizzers finally got their man.
West Plains High School, in search of a new basketball coach since former coach John Gibb's contract was not renewed March 19, hired Viola's Dion Hargrove May 20 following a closed session of the West Plains School board.
"We are excited and extremely happy to get him," said West Plains superintendent Dr. Victor Buehler. "He is a quality person; his record certainly speaks for that."
Hargrove's record is 309-109 in basketball, and 127-49 in baseball.
Hargrove will coach boys' varsity basketball and golf at West Plains, and his teaching duties will include middle school physical education.
"My wife and our whole family are excited," Hargrove said. "West Plains has a great athletic program and we look forward to being a part of it."
Hargrove has been the varsity and junior varsity boys' basketball and baseball coach since arriving at Viola in 1996.
Before his tenure in Viola, Hargrove was the varsity and junior varsity girls' basketball coach at Bradford, followed by a stint as basketball coach for the girls' and boys' basketball teams in Des Arc.
Hargrove leaves behind a string of impressive results at Viola High School. His 2002 senior boys' basketball team holds the Class A state title for that year. His career record in basketball also includes six state tournament appearances, four regional championships and 10 conference championships. Viola advanced to the quarterfinals of this year's Class A state Tournament where they were beaten by eventual champion Weiner.
Hargrove's 1998 and 1999 baseball teams won Class A state titles, and his resume also includes six state tournament appearances, four regional titles and six conference championships. This year's Longhorn squad made it to the Class A State Tournament quarterfinals, where they were edged out by Omaha.
Hargrove also leaves behind a pile of awards in the state of Arkansas; 2002 East All-Star head basketball coach; All-Star coach nominee in 1994, 1995, 1999, 2000 and 2002; basketball conference coach of the year 1993-1996, 1998-2000 and 2000-2003; baseball All-Star coaching staff 1998-2000; baseball conference coach of the year 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2003.
"We're sorry to see him go. We certainly wish him the best of luck," said Viola principal Lowell Estes. "We'll miss him, but sometimes opportunities present themselves and you have to act."
When asked when Viola expected to have Hargrove's replacement hired, Estes said, "As soon as possible. Hopefully we'll have someone in place within the next two to three weeks."