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Crossett assistant Vincent Newton promoted to head football coach and athletic director

Newton served as an assistant at North Little Rock before arriving at his alma mater in 2020.

By Kyle Sutherland 

Crossett did not have to look very far to find the school’s next athletic director and head football coach as current defensive coordinator Vincent Newton has been promoted from within to take over those roles. 

Newton spent the past two seasons as the Eagles defensive coordinator and helped lead them to the Class 4A quarterfinals the past two seasons.

Newton is a 2008 graduate of Crossett and was hired by Billy Elmore at Stuttgart to be a football assistant and the head baseball coach following his graduation from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 2013. Elmore left Stuttgart for West Memphis in 2014 and Newton decided to pursue other opportunities in central Arkansas.

After spending one year each coaching middle school football at Maumelle and Bryant, Newton took a job at North Little Rock on the high school team under then-head coach Jamie Mitchell as outside linebackers coach along with serving as the ninth-grade defensive coordinator. It was around that time he felt the vision for his coaching career began to take shape. North Little Rock went 12-1 that season and made it to the 7A state championship game. 

“That really was the year that the trajectory and what my goals were as a football coach,” Newton said.

Following that season, Newton reunited with Elmore at West Memphis, where he remained from 2017-19. The Blue Devils reached the semifinals in each of those seasons and clinched an undefeated conference championship in 2018 with the defense allowing just 12 points per game.

Newton mentioned the 2019 season was probably his most enjoyable year of his coaching career, part of that due to being promoted to co-defensive coordinator. The other part was West Memphis had graduated most of the previous year’s talent and got off to a slow start but was able to turn things around after a few adjustments.

“We started off 2-4 and Coach Elmore came in and said we are going to make some changes,” Newton said. “We made changes to what we were doing on offense and defense, then we popped off five straight [wins] and ended up finishing second in the conference, then made it to the semifinals.”

An opportunity to come home and be defensive coordinator at Crossett arose prior to the 2020-21 school year and that was something Newton could not turn down.

“It’s home; my parents are here,” Newton said. “I took that opportunity to come home and lead our kids. It was a really good move for me. This has been the most growth I have had being able to take more responsibility and going into that leadership role.”

After leading the Eagles for the 2021 season, head coach Shawn Jackson resigned April 22 to take a job in Michigan in order to be closer to family, and by the following Wednesday, Newton was offered to take over as athletic director and head football coach. Since that time, it has been a whirlwind of emotions for Newton, but he is enjoying the process.

“It was an awesome feeling, but to me, it has not all the way set in,” Newton said. “I have been busy the last few days, so I kind of hit the ground running.”

There are enough responsibilities as a head football coach, let alone an athletic director, but Newton understands that this is all part of the plan that has been set before him as someone who once thought he would end up being a baseball coach.

“I am extremely humbled. Some people get the opportunities to move up, and they get the big head or become more arrogant,” Newton added. “I do not see it that way. This gives me an opportunity to effect change throughout the whole athletic department, especially through the football program, and I can give back to the community through our youth.”