After accepting the position of head De Queen senior girls basketball coach, Paul Dean did not waste much time.
Classes ended on a Friday. The Lady Leopards practiced the following Monday.
Dean grew up in Pine Bluff. His father, Bo, was senior girls coach at Pine Bluff High.
Dean moved to Clarksville in junior high. He was a three sport athlete in junior high: basketball, football and track, but gave up track in senior high.
After CHS, he graduated from Arkansas Tech. His first coaching position was head junior girls coach at Paris 2007-08.
After two years he moved to Western Yell County where he coached junior and senior high.
In 2010 he became an assistant senior girls coach at Greenwood and was there for eight years.
Dean was looking for a head coaching position. When he heard about the De Queen vacancy, he consulted Clarksville senior boys coach Tony Davis who coached the Leopards before moving to CHS.
“When I asked him about coaching at De Queen, he really bragged on it. I knew I wanted the job. I talked to other people. Not one negative word was said by anybody,” Dean said.
The new Leopard coach said his father has been the biggest influence on his career. The second would be Clay Reeves, under whom he was an assistant.
“Pine Bluff reached the state semi-finals just about every year,” he said of his dad.
“Clay Reeves had been at Greenwood 15 years. He’s been to the finals 11 times and won seven.
“I’ve been fortunate to be around two pretty good coaches.”
Dean said he is not devoted to a certain style of play. Recognizing game situations and adapting to them is one of his primary goals.
“We’ll do whatever we have to do, whatever we have to do to win,” he said. “If it means playing fast, we’ll play fast. If it means slowing down, we’ll slow down.”
Dean has been driving from Greenwood, on the outskirts of Fort Smith, to Leopard Arena daily for practice sessions. He hopes to have his family moved to De Queen by late June.
His wife, Tessa, is an elementary teacher. They have four children, three girls and a boy, ages 12, 11, eight and two.
Dean said that his time away from coaching is family time.
“Basketball is my hobby. Somebody said that if you have a job where you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,” he said. “I’m pretty lucky to get paid to coach basketball.”
His plans for the summer have the Lady Leopards attending camp at Mena July 16 and at Morrilton July 25-26. The first week of August De Queen will host its annual girls camp.
In the Arkansas Activities Association’s new classification system, De Queen will return to class 4A. While there will be no Hot Springs or Watson Chapel in De Queen’s new conference, there will be stiff competition. “Bauxite has been pretty good. Nashville’s been pretty good. Mena has a great tradition,” Dean noted.
“Star City is in the region. State wide Berryville, Farmington and Batesville are always good.”
He is anxious to get relocated and settled in De Queen. However even with all the time he is spending on US 71, he said, “So far, I love it.”
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