Hendrix coach Buck Buchanan said Hendrix had a lot to prove and some stereotypes to break in the college’s football season in 53 years.
“We wanted to show really smart kids could play football, too,” he said, noting that his the returning players from a first-game of 48 combined for a 3.0 grade-point average in the tough curriculum of the liberal arts college. “And pretty much everybody who played regularly has come back, which shows we recruited the right kind of kids.”
Tanner Frye, the backup quarterback who took over for Greenbrier’s Seth Peters after the fifth game, is one of the few who will not be back. For personal reasons, he transferred to North Texas, closer to his home in Pottsboro.
Buchanan and his staff deliberately limited the roster even though they knew it would mean depth problems and a team that would wear down as the season progressed. But from experience at a start-up program at Louisiana College, he knew he would play only about 53 players and he didn’t want another 40 or 50 in dorm rooms complaining of playing time and not having a good experience and tell their friends about it.
Now, he will begin his second season with a solid foundation of experienced players.
“We got the right guys here to start a program,” he said. “They have high character, were good players and showed a lot of heart, did a great job in the classroom, were very polite and were representative of the student body. We knew and we told them they were going to be in a fish bowl. They would set the tone of what we want our program to be and they did that.
“I was very proud of the young men. They were a special group. People on campus see them all the time. I’m the guy who gets quoted in the paper.”
Hendrix has begun its offseason, the first for a Hendrix team, with Buchanan’s goal of making his team, “leaner, meaner, stronger, faster.”
One of the most important things, he said, is to establish in the first season that the Warriors could be competitive and that NCAA Division III, which does not allow scholarships for athletics, is an exciting brand of football.
“We established ourselves and I think our overall record for our first team (3-7) surprised some people and coaches and how competitive we were,” Buchanan said. “We have something to show and facilities to show. More coaches are calling us.
“We know who were. We are the only Division III football-playing school in the state and we are recruiting to that.”