Van Buren is leaving the state’s largest classification.

Jonesboro jumped over Van Buren into Class 7A for football and Class 6A for other sports as announced for the 2020-21 and 2021-2022 school years by the Arkansas Activities Association on May 1.

Since being promoted to the state’s largest classification in 1991, this marks the second time Van Buren has been bumped down a classification.

For the first time ever, Cabot is the largest high school in the state with an average daily enrollment of 2,476, jumping from third to first.

It was Jonesboro’s increase from 1,241 to 1,362 students, though, that bumped Van Buren into the next classification.

“We knew they were growing and that they and the new Little Rock school would have a chance to pass us,” Van Buren athletics director Randy Loyd said. “We knew that was a possibility, but the AAA wouldn’t let us know anything for sure until the numbers came out.”

For football, Van Buren could logically join Greenwood, Siloam Springs, Russellville, Mountain Home, Lake Hamilton, Sylvan Hills and Little Rock Parkview in a 6A-West conference.

Official conferences will be announced by the Arkansas Activities Association during the summer for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years.

Van Buren competed as a Class 6A team in football in 2010 and 2011 but continued to play in the blended 7A/6A-Central during the regular season.

“This is the first time that we would be just 6A in football and 5A in the other sports,” Loyd said. “We’ve been talking about it for a while. The coaches have been waiting for (it’s release).”

Van Buren will compete one more year in the 7A-West for football and 6A-West for other sports.

For sports other than football, beginning in 2020, Van Buren will likely join Alma in conference play. That would renew the basketball rivalry.

For the boys’ basketball team, a new coach will take the Pointers into the new era after one last year in the 6A-West.

Austin Trembley announced his resignation on Wednesday, leaving coaching and taking a job with Westrock Coffee.
“He got an offer that he couldn’t turn down,” Loyd said. “He’s leaving the coaching world, which was hard on him because he loves it so much, and going into the business world."

Trembley coached the Pointers for two seasons, taking over for Loyd.

"Immediately, we'll start looking for the best person we can find," Loyd said. "We'll put it out there (Thursday) and see what kind of applications we get. We'll come up with a short list with who we want to interview and figure it out in the next couple of weeks."