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FARMINGTON -- Former Arkadelphia and current North Little Rock coach J.R. Eldridge has been named the top candidate to fill Farmington's head football coaching vacancy.

A press release issued late Monday afternoon by the school district indicated more than 40 applications were reviewed and Eldridge was named the lone finalist to replace coach Mike Adams, who will retire from teaching and coaching at the end of the semester.

Farmington superintendent of schools Jon Paul Laffoon stated in the press release, "J.R. has won at every level and will be successful because he is a great leader, but more importantly he is a developer of young people."

Eldridge's experience includes stints as Defensive Coordinator and Strength Coordinator at Ouachita Baptist University, head coach at Arkadelphia where he went 82-34 in nine seasons, and an 12-2 State Runner-up season in 2020 at Class 7A North Little Rock. Eldridge won back-to-back Class 4A state championships in 2017 and 2018 while coaching the Badgers.

He earned the distinction of beating four No. 1 seeds, an unprecedented achievement, en route to winning the 2018 Class 4A state crown. As a head coach Eldridge has three state finals appearances and a playoff record of 22-8. He has been named Coach-of-the-Year in Arkansas by various organizations five times.

In a statement accompanying the press release, Eldridge said he is grateful to Laffoon, Farmington athletic director Beau Thompson, and the interview committee for choosing him as the candidate who will be presented to the Farmington School Board for the head coaching position.

"I am excited about the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of players, compete for state and conference championships, and build lasting relationships within the Farmington community," Eldridge said.

Farmington school board will consider the hire during its next meeting scheduled for Jan. 25.

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