Walking Away From Basketball

PRAIRIE GROVE — Longtime Prairie Grove coach Kevin Froud resigned as head coach of the girls basketball team along with his teaching position from the district on Tuesday, May 31.

Froud, who compiled an 346-187 overall record in 18 seasons of coaching the Lady Tigers highlighted by winning the 2010 Class 4A state championship and two State Runner-Up finishes in 2011 and 2013, completely walked away from the district.

“I felt my time here is spent and done so I’m moving on to another stage in my life,” Froud said in a phone interview on Thursday.

He said he was not forced out and wanted to leave on his own terms.

Froud plans to continue working in education in some form although he said he it would not be coaching. He may work in an transportation aspect.

He felt a sense of relief when he turned in his resignation, then drew inspiration the next morning while listening to a pair of podcasts, one entitled, “Heaven is Cheering You On,” and another themed around it’s time for a new beginning.

“It was the good Lord telling me it was time,” Froud said. “The good Lord has his hand on things. I slept a lot better when I did it.”

In a June 1, 2022, replay of a sermon originally preached in 2011, Joel Osteen conveyed a message the most successful basketball coach in the history of Prairie Grove girls basketball could relate to, essentially telling listeners, “You have home court advantage in God’s Kingdom. You are not running alone. The heroes of faith are cheering you on. Your best days are still ahead, and together we can make a difference in this world with the message of God’s hope and love.”

The timely encouragement Froud drew seemed to provide a confirmation he had done what’s best for him and his family while struggling with the prospects of getting out of coaching and leaving his employment.

Froud gave no indication of getting hung up on that issue. He plans to continue working on the family farm at Greenland while carrying on his father’s legacy on the same land now worked by a second generation including Froud’s brother and sister.

“I’m blessed with my farm. I’ve been blessed with a lot of good teams, a lot of good players and good relationships,” Froud said.

Froud’s personal lifestyle will become drastically altered from what he’s been accustomed to while growing older with a sport he’s been deeply fond of his prolonged involvement with, first as a youth player, then on to junior high, high school and college followed by 23 years of coaching.

“For the first time in 40 years I’ll have a winter I’m not going to be doing something with basketball. It’ll be different,” Froud said.

Perhaps the ultimate compliment Froud received during his tenure as Prairie Grove girls basketball coach came from retired Huntsville Hall of Fame coach Charles H. Berry.

Froud and the Lady Tigers had just defeated Berry and the Lady Eagles to win the 4A North Regional championship season when Berry said that was the worst team he’d ever seen win the regional.

He sort of mirrored that type of achievement this past season, 2021-2022 in what became Froud’s last at Prairie Grove. The Lady Tigers struggled during the regular season, finishing in the basement among the 4A-1 standings with a 4-8 conference record only to explode in the postseason. The Lady Tigers placed fourth in the tournament district at Pea Ridge, qualifying for regionals hosted by Farmington, then battled their way into the regional finals, finishing as 4A North Regional Runner-up to Farmington.

Prairie Grove continued its hot streak at state, winning twice to advance to the Class 4A State semifinals where they ran into Farmington once again and concluded a fine season.

“This year we had a very average record but we got hot at the right time,” Froud said.

The Lady Tigers concluded the regular season with a 12-10 overall record but finished 19-14 with a strong postseason run all the way to the Class 4A State semifinals.

Froud landed his first head coaching job at Hector where he coached for two seasons. In the 1999-2000 season Froud led Hector to a 24-7 record. The next year Hector went 21-5. The team won conference championships and district tournament titles while finishing as regional runner-up the first season and as regional champion in Froud’s second year.

Froud’s career totals in 20 seasons as a head coach make him a likely prospect for the hall of fame with 391 wins against 199 losses, eight conference championships, eight district tournament titles and three district tournament runner-up placings, 15 regional appearances, six regional district tournaments crowns and three regional runner-up finishes, 13 state tournament appearances with five trips to the state semifinals.

MARK HUMPHREY ENTERPRISE-LEADER/Kevin Froud, shown coaching in the 4A North Regional finals against Farmington, resigned as head coach of the Prairie Grove girls basketball team on Tuesday, May 31. Froud finished with a career record of 391-199 in 20 seasons as a head coach including two seasons at Hector and won the 2010 state championship at Prairie Grove. The Lady Tigers went 19-14 and advanced to the 2022 Class 4A State semifinals in Froud’s last season.

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