- Alma School District
Lincoln takes over as Airedales’ coach- 05/20/2021
By Kevin Taylor
Dominic Lincoln met the Alma staff Wednesday. Thursday, he’ll meet his new players.
“I’m excited about that,” Lincoln said. “A lot of coaches have talked to me about several kids here and how good these kids are and their work ethics. Just to know that we can push them to work hard, that’s just awesome. I’m excited to get there.”
The new Alma boys basketball coach met fellow coaches and members of the media Wednesday along with his wife Leslie and kids Layla (6) and Ziya (3).
Lincoln was named as former coach Stan Flenor’s replacement after the latter retired last month. Flenor won 457 games over a 31-year head coaching career.
In all, Flenor spent 36 seasons with the Airedales.
Lincoln led his alma mater to 13 wins in 2020-21, Crossett’s first winning season since 2005. In three seasons, the former Bryant assistant was 26-39 with Crossett.
Lincoln beat out a number of coaches for the position, Alma athletic director Doug Loughridge said. A graduate of Arkansas Tech, where he met his wife, the Crossett native swayed Alma Assistant Superintendent Travis Biggs.
“We had a lot of good applicants,” Biggs said. “But I kept coming back to something coach Lincoln talked about, and things I was made aware of on social media, and that is he’s all about heart.”
Lincoln’s hiring makes him only the fourth Airedales’ basketball coach over the past 47 years.
“There are a lot of schools who go through coaches year after year after year,” Loughridge said. “To have a great program, you have to have stability, and you have to have someone who is going to be here for a long, long time.”
Loughridge said the school wanted someone who would not only take care of the players from seventh grade to high school but from second grade and up as well.
“There are a lot of great basketball coaches out there,” Loughridge said. “There are a lot of guys who know X’s and O’s, guys who are great in the weight room, and a lot of guys who won a lot of ball games. When you get to know him (Lincoln), you’re going to realize he’s a winner. It’s not that he’s a winner of basketball games, but that he’s a winner of life.
“To be where he is today, he’s won.”
Lincoln took the podium without any prepared notes, which, he said, was by design.
“I have a friend of mine who always told me that if you speak from the heart, you can’t do anything wrong,” he said. “I want to thank God for blessing me and putting me in the position I am today. I’m so proud to be a part of the Airedale family.”
Lincoln has big shoes to fill. Under Flenor’s watch, the Airedales won 355 games between 2000-21, including a pair of state championship runs in 2005 and 2011. Alma also reached the finals in 2013.
“This is a very emotional day,” said Biggs, a Fort Smith native. “Alma’s been a very successful program for a number of years, and I got to witness that from afar for 20 to 30 years. I always knew that the Alma basketball program was run correctly; I always had the thought from the outside looking in.
“Then, when I got over here and got to know Stan on a personal basis, I told him more than once that (he) represents old-school coaching. He puts kids first.”
Biggs borrowed a phrase from Alma principal Brian Kirkendoll. “He (Kirkendoll) said, ‘You can be a good employee, and you can be a good faculty member — but when you’re both, you’re a special person.’
“Stan Flenor is both,” Biggs said. “For 36 years, he gave everything he had to the Alma School District.”