Van Buren Athletic Director Randy Loyd acted quickly a year ago when the Pointers needed a new football coach.​

Wednesday afternoon, he acted swiftly again in naming another head coach for one of his athletic programs.​

Luke Weatherford, an assistant under David Loyd for the last 11 years, was named the sixth head baseball coach in the 36 years since the revival of Van Buren’s baseball program.​

“You know when you have a guy that’s been in the program and helping with Coach Loyd for as long as he has,” Randy Loyd said. “It was an easy decision, and we wanted to go ahead and do it as quickly as we could.”​

A year ago this month, Loyd elevated Crosby Tuck, an assistant, to take over for Casey Dick to take over the football program about an hour after Dick announced he was leaving for Fayetteville.​

Less than 24 hours after David Loyd retired after heading the baseball program for 15 years, Randy Loyd turned to a familiar face in Weatherford after consulting with Superintendent Harold Jeffcoat.​

“It was definitely a no-brainer,” Randy Loyd said. “Dr. Jeffcoat and I talked about it. We had Luke come in, and we knew he was the right guy. He’s very respected in the community and in the baseball world.”​

Weatherford has been David Loyd’s assistant and first-base coach for the past 11 years.​

“I’m very excited and looking forward to taking over a great program,” Weatherford said. “Van Buren’s been really good to me. I’ve had a great time coaching with Coach Loyd. I’m really excited to be a head coach.”​

The timing isn’t great for Weatherford, however, with school shutdown amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has also curtailed all athletic activities across the state.​

“I’m looking forward to being with the guys and being on the field every day,” Weatherford said. “It’s hard right now. We’re used to being on the field, practicing and playing and being around each other day in and day out this time of the year.”​

Weatherford has plenty of baseball experience both as a player and coach at both the high school and college levels.​

He was an assistant coach at Southeastern Louisiana University and Tulane University before spending the past 11 years as an assistant under Loyd at Van Buren.​

As a player, Weatherford was All-State at Northside in 1998 under Bill Breedlove before playing under Dale Harpenau at Westark Junior College where he was All-Region and All-Regional Tournament as a sophomore.​

Weatherford then played for the Arkansas Razorbacks the final two years of Norm DeBriyn’s illustrious career.​

“I’m very fortunate to have played under and coached with a lot of great coaches through the years,” Weatherford said.​

Weatherford’s senior season, in 2002, the Razorbacks went to the Super Regionals at Clemson, winning the first game but dropping the final two. As a senior, Weatherford hit exactly .300 and was fourth on the team in on-base percentage at .407. He was 15-of-19 in stolen-bases attempts in his career with the Razorbacks.​

Weatherford will guide the Pointers into a new era as Van Buren joins the 5A-West next season after being a part of the rugged 6A-West and 7A-West the past several seasons.​