The Van Buren Board of Education approved a new basketball coach for the Pointers on Thursday.
Brad Autry brings with him a wealth of coaching experience, mostly on the collegiate level, to Van Buren.
“We’re very excited,” Van Buren athletics director Randy Loyd said. “He’s worked for the best. A friend of mine reached out to him and the next thing you know here we are hiring him.”
Autry succeeds Austin Trembley, who left coaching for the private sector, and will be just the fourth basketball coach for the Pointers in the past 42 years after Trembley, Randy Loyd and Quincy Coleman.
Autry has been an assistant at the University of Tulsa under current Kansas coach Bill Self, an assistant at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock under Steve Shields, and an assistant at Marquette University under current Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams.
“I’ve known Brad for 20 years,” Self said. “He was a big part of our success at Tulsa. Few I’ve known can motivate and make the game and life fun like Brad can. Congrats on a terrific hire.”
Former Nebraska head coach and current Nebraska assistant coach Doc Sadler added: “Van Buren high school got a great basketball coach and the community got a great family today. I’ve known Brad for 20 years and he is one of the best minds that I have worked with in basketball. The kids are going to love playing for him because he is going to ask a lot from them on the court and give them back more off the court.”
In all, Autry has 25 years of coaching basketball at the collegiate level as well as another four years at high school, including one for football.
Autry was lured to Van Buren by “Randy Loyd,” Autry said. “I know what kind of person he is, what kind of coach is, and I know what kind of area that is.”
Autry was most recently at Southern Illinois University. When Barry Hinson stepped down as the head coach after the conclusion of the season in March, it left Autry considering other options.
“When things happened here at Southern Illinois, I told my wife that this was the first time I had ever gone through this process with a family,” Autry said. “We wanted to get into a geographical area where we wanted to be. That’s an area we really wanted to be in. It’s directly in between both sets of grandparents so nobody can say we’re favoring one or the other. So, the geography is perfect. I know what kind of program coach Loyd runs. I know the success that comes out of that school district, and I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Hinson is originally from Balko, Oklahoma, and played collegiately at Northwestern Oklahoma State, and his wife is from Missouri.
“I prayed for God to open up the only door that he wanted me to go through, and that’s the one that he opened up,” Autry said. “I said let’s go. You pray for answers, you get answers, and you go.”
Van Buren was 6-20 this past season, including 2-12 in the 6A-West and missing the postseason.
This will be the final year for the Pointers in the 6A-West as they head to the 5A-West in the 2020-21 season, according to the reclassification announced on Wednesday by the Arkansas Activities Association.