Skip to main content

Arkansas Gridiron Icons podcast: Barry Lunney Sr.

Lunney Sr. won eight state titles in his career

By Kyle Sutherland | Photo by J.T. Wampler 

Gridiron success is in Barry Lunney Sr.'s bloodline. His father, John Lunney, was a four-time letterman for Arkansas under John Barnhill from 1946-49 and Lunney Sr.'s son, Barry Jr., also earned four letters for the Hogs from 1992-95.

A Fort Smith native, Lunney Sr. went on to play college football at Northeastern (Okla.) State following a successful prep career at Northside. There, adversities regarding playing time taught him multiple life lessons that he would use throughtout his coaching career.

Lunney earned his first job as an assitant in 1974 at Vian (Okla.), and also served stints at Greenwood, along with Fort Smith Southside, before deciding to step away from the game for a couple of years.

Time away gave Lunney a reminder of his passion for the game and he earned his long-awaited chance to be a head coach when he took the job at Beebe in 1987. When Southside, his alma mater's bitter rival, came open in 1989, Lunney went back home and great success was not far behind him.

In 16 seasons leading the then-Rebels, Lunney guided them to four state titles in 1991-92, 1997, and 2002. Having done just about everything possible, Lunney itched for a new challenge and found it at Bentonville in 2005.

As was Southside, Bentonville became a juggernaut under Lunney, earning six trips to the state finals from 2008-2014, winning four of those (2008, 2010, 2013-14) including a thrilling finish in 2014 against rival Fayetteville in his final game before retiring for good.

Since his departure from football, Lunney has been heavily involved with the Fellowship of Christian Atheltes. Hear from him on all that he has going on from that end, his freindship with the legendary John Outlaw - who was key in his offensive switch from the Wing T to the One-Back, and much more.

LISTEN on Spotify