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MX News Update 2024

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Bentonville West announces girls basketball and volleyball coaches

CENTERTON — The opportunity to develop a basketball program that is still relatively new was something that stood out and appealed to Ryan Johnson.

Johnson, 30, was named Bentonville West girls basketball coach during Wednesday’s special school board meeting. Johnson replaces Dion Hargrove, who previously resigned after three years with the Lady Wolverines.

“I’m really excited about it,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long process and I’m ready to get things going. I think it’s a place where we can be successful now and for years to come. It’s a great area, a great community and great support. I’m ready to get out there and get to work.

“Personally, I like the freshness and newness of it. I think there are a lot of firsts that can be done there, which is exciting. You also get to compete in one of the best conferences in girls basketball. That is an exciting challenge.”

Johnson moves to West from Valley Springs, where he coached the past five seasons. During that time, his Lady Tigers team compiled a 145-52 overall record and a 27-11 mark in postseason play.

His first Valley Springs team finished with a 36-7 record and reached the 2020 Class 3A state championship game before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Lady Tigers have reached the district tournament finals and regional tournament finals all five seasons under Johnson’s leadership.

“He has had success at Valley Springs,” Bentonville West Athletic Director Kevin Downing said. “When we met and visited him, he was organized. He is a hard worker and has a plan for every facet of the game and, honestly, every level of the program starting in third grade.

“We have a foundation and he has an opportunity to build on that foundation. We have talent coming our way. Our junior highs are doing well and the opening of Grimsley four years ago has helped. It will help girls basketball at West.”

The board also approved the hiring of Britney Davis as West’s volleyball coach. Davis, who has been with Gravette for five years, replaces Julie Rowan, who resigned after eight years with the program but remains at the school as a teacher.

Davis led the Lady Lions to a 23-3 overall record and a 9-0 mark in Class 4A-Northwest Conference play. Gravette won the regular season and conference tournament titles and reached the Class 4A state semifinals.

“I must express my gratitude to coach Norman Mitchell and the Gravette School District for five great years,” Davis said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to coach amazing girls and be part of such a supportive community.

“I am honored and excited to be the head volleyball coach at Bentonville West. I look forward to working with the student-athletes and the community to make Bentonville West volleyball one of the most competitive programs in the state.