This is the second football program you’ve helped start from scratch, what has that been like?
Buchanan: “I started the program at Louisiana College and it’s now a top-25 team. We grew to have some success, but I’ve never worked for a better administration and better people. Conway is the best city I’ve ever worked in. The administration has been great and has provided the resources we need?:
What did you learn from the Louisiana College start-up experience?
Buchanan: “We started out with 125 players that first year and that’s too many. Only 50 or 60 are going to play. The 50 who don’t play sit in their dorm rooms and complain and become a distraction and make it harder to recruit the next year. They see 100 guys on that first team and think, ‘Why come?’ You have no room to grow. That’s why we want to limit our roster to 50 or 55.”
Division III is non-scholarship athletics, how is that misconceived?
Buchanan: “Every one of our players are on some type of aid. In Division III, the scholarship just can’t be to play athletics.”
And most of the players have been stars on their high school teams?
Buchanan: “Several of our players had scholarship offers to play football on a different level; they came here to concentrate on academics while playing football.”
So most of the players are a little slower and a little smaller?
Buchanan: “Generally, but we have a couple of players 6-foot-6, about 300 pounds. But we might have a center 5-11 and 215. It’s a matter of picking the right young men. You want people in the program who can qualify academically and have great character and potential, and you hold them to that.”
You and all of your staff have Division III experience. What excites you about this level of football?
Buchanan: “I don’t have to go to a young man and tell him he didn’t catch enough balls and didn’t rush for enough yards or do enough to keep his scholarship. Nobody has a scholarship for athletics. And you don’t have a situation where this guy has a full scholarship, this guy has a half and this guy has a quarter and the guy with a quarter thinks he’s better than the guy with the full.”
Division III football is new to Arkansas. How many players from Arkansas do you have?
Buchanan: “20. We’ve been received very well in the Arkansas schools and we’ve had a good year in Arkansas.”
What is the core of your philosophy?
Buchanan: “We know who we are, and we always will be true to who we are. We are not going to lie to the people we recruit. We tell them they are going to live in a fish bowl. We want them to prove people wrong in what they may think about them. We want the right young me to come here, get a good education, have a good college football experience, then graduate and go out and make a lot of money and help us build new facilities.”