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Bentonville West announces girls basketball and volleyball coaches

CENTERTON — The opportunity to develop a still relatively new basketball program caught Ryan Johnson’s attention and appealed to him.

Johnson, 30, was named Bentonville West girls basketball coach at Wednesday’s special school board meeting. Johnson replaces Dion Hargrove, who resigned after three years with the Lady Wolverines.

“I’m really excited about it,” Johnson said. “It’s been a long process and I’m ready to get things done.” I think this is a place where we can succeed now and for years to come. It’s a great area, great community and great support. I’m ready to go out there and get to work.

“Personally, I like the freshness and newness of it. I think there are a lot of firsts that can be achieved there, which is exciting. You will also be able to participate in one of the best conferences in women’s basketball. It’s an exciting challenge.

Johnson is moving out West from Valley Springs, where he has coached for the past five seasons. Meanwhile, her Lady Tigers team compiled a 145-52 overall record and a 27-11 mark in the postseason.

His first Valley Springs team finished with a 36-7 record and reached the 2020 Class 3A state championship game before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Lady Tigers reached the district tournament finals and regional tournament finals in all five seasons under Johnson’s leadership.

“He had success at Valley Springs,” Bentonville West athletic director Kevin Downing said. “When we met him and visited him, he got organized. He’s a hard worker and has a plan for every facet of the game and, honestly, every level of the program starting in year three.

“We have a foundation and he has a chance to build on that foundation. We have talent coming. Our secondary schools are doing well and the opening of Grimsley 4 years ago has helped. This will help women’s basketball at West.

The board also approved the hiring of Britney Davis as West’s volleyball coach. Davis, who has been at Gravette for five years, replaces Julie Rowan, who resigned after eight years with the program but will remain at the school in a teaching position.

Davis led the Lady Lions to a 23-3 overall record and a 9-0 mark in the Class 4A-Northwest Conference. Gravette won the regular season and conference tournament titles and reached the Class 4A state semifinals.

“I have to express my gratitude to Coach Norman Mitchell and the Gravette School District for an amazing 5 years,” Davis said. “I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to coach some incredible girls and be a part of such a supportive community.

“I am honored and excited to be the head volleyball coach at Bentonville West. I look forward to working with the student-athletes and community to make Bentonville West volleyball one of the most competitive programs in the state.”