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White Hall (Arkansas) endures second tragedy in 2 months with Ryan Mallett’s death

Former running back Benjamin Redix was killed just before he graduated from high school in May
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By Nate Olson | Photo by Jimmy Jones 

For the second time in two months, the White Hall football program is mourning. 

Tuesday afternoon, news broke that White Hall head coach Ryan Mallett drowned off the coast of Florida. In mid-May, graduating senior running back and track star Benjamin Redix was shot to death in North Little Rock by a friend with whom he was riding in a car. The next day, his mother attended his graduation ceremony at the White Hall football field on his behalf. 

“We are all in shock,” second-year White Hall defensive coordinator Hunter Vincent said. “This is our second tragedy in a short time, and now we have lost our leader.

"This is just another tough thing for our team to deal with."

Vincent said he “didn’t have any details” but was told of the accident by White Hall athletic director Mark Cantwell. Vincent did confirm the former Arkansas Razorbacks star quarterback and NFL backup was vacationing in Destin, Fla., with his girlfriend, whom he declined to name.

News broke late Tuesday afternoon and spread on social media. Vincent said he and other staff members were unable to relay the news directly to the Bulldogs players.

"[Our local media] was on it quick before we could tell our kids," Vincent said. "We started getting texts and phone calls, and we were trying to get in touch with as many kids as we could. But a lot of them found out from the media and not us."

Vincent said Bulldogs offensive line coach and offensive coordinator Jason Mitchell talked with Mallett at 1:30 p.m. CST Tuesday. Vincent's last contact with Mallett was through text messaging.

“We traded some pictures back and forth of him and his girlfriend from the beach, and I texted him a picture of my wife. She loved him, too,” said Vincent, a native of Magnet Cove who coached there before being hired by Mallett. “He wasn’t just a coach to me, he was one of my best friends.”

Vincent said he got to know Mallett through a mutual coaching friend and was surprised when Mallett sought him out to fill the open defensive coordinator position.

“He reached out to me, which I thought was pretty cool,” said Vincent, who is a Henderson State alum but didn’t play football for the Reddies. “We worked really well together and just became really good friends.”

Vincent said he hasn’t been told who will be White Hall’s interim head coach, but the staff will meet with the team Wednesday morning. Many of the players are out of town since this week started the two-week mandatory ‘dead period’ where athletic department facilities statewide are closed for a break.

“Our football team is like a family,” Vincent said. “For these kids, they lost a brother, and know they have lost a father figure. I have never seen anything like it. We have strong kids, but this is a lot to overcome. We really love each other and will come together.”

Ryan Mallett

Ryan Mallett