Orig­i­nal No.16 star QB

Be­fore Mus­tain, Green­lee took Spring­dale High to ’82 state cham­pi­onship.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - CHIP SOUZA

FAYET­TEVILLE — Doug Green­lee could be the an­swer to a trivia ques­tion.

“Who is the first star quar­ter­back at Spring­dale High to wear No. 16?”

Most would an­swer Mitch Mus­tain, the USA To­day Player of the Year who led the Bull­dogs to na­tional promi­nence and an un­de­feated state cham­pi­onship sea­son. That an­swer would be wrong.

The cor­rect an­swer is Doug Green­lee, who fa­mously wore No. 16 first and earned a num­ber of ac­co­lades him­self more than 20 years be­fore Mus­tain suited up and snapped on a hel­met with the unique red ‘S’ on each side.

“I ac­tu­ally coached those boys when they were grow­ing up,” Green­lee said of Mus­tain and that well-doc­u­mented 2005 Spring­dale se­nior class. “That was a good group and ob­vi­ously (Gus) Malzahn was a good coach.”

Did Green­lee let Mus­tain know that he

was the orig­i­nal No. 16?

“I did,” Green­lee laughed.

In 1982 Spring­dale was a one high­school town, and all the boys in town wanted to be a Bull­dog. For­mer coach Jarrell Wil­liams, whose name now adorns the foot­ball sta­dium, had built a pow­er­house pro­gram with tough-as-nails play­ers who played ev­ery snap to the whis­tle and then some.

“He was a real good coach,” Green­lee said. “He was the silent type and as long as you did your job, he didn’t say much.”

Wil­liams came from the old school of foot­ball where the best teams played tough de­fense and ran the ball al­most ev­ery play. It was a sim­ple strat­egy that led to much suc­cess for the Red’Dogs.

Green­lee made the coach change that phi­los­o­phy, even putting in a shot­gun of­fense that was un­heard of then.

“I think we were the first team to do that,” Wil­liams said. “I don’t re­call any­one else do­ing it. We were not known for be­ing a pass­ing team, but he re­ally changed that for us.”

Wil­liams said the coach­ing strat­egy was sim­ple: “Get him the ball and let him do what he wants to do.”

Spring­dale lost twice that sea­son, drop­ping the sec­ond game of the year to Rogers 107, then fall­ing to Lit­tle Rock Cen­tral 25-7 right be­fore the play­offs. But the Bull­dogs also knocked off then No. 1 Fort Smith Northside 107, and hung a 28-0 loss on bit­ter ri­val Fayet­teville with Green­lee pass­ing for all four touch­downs.

The Bull­dogs hosted El Do­rado in the first round of the play­offs and found them­selves in a dog­fight in the fourth quar­ter. Spring­dale took over at its 6 and trailed by a touch­down as the clock moved down.

Wil­liams said he called a draw play on first down be­cause El Do­rado had keyed on stop­ping Green­lee the en­tire game. The draw worked for 30 yards, and Green­lee did the rest, lead­ing the team to a late touch­down by pass­ing to Scott Turner for the score and adding the two-point con­ver­sion pass to pull out an 18-17 win.

“I guess he saw it, and thought he had some dif­fer­ent types of ath­letes and saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to do other things,” Green­lee said of the of­fen­sive change. “We had some good re­ceivers, and a great of­fen­sive line. All big guys for that time. We tried some things in prac­tice and in prac­tice games that we’d never tried be­fore and we ac­tu­ally started us­ing them in games.”

Spring­dale went on to de­feat Texarkana the next week, then de­feated West Mem­phis in the cham­pi­onship game the fol­low­ing week 10-7. That sea­son was the last time state cham­pi­onship games were played on home fields as West Mem­phis hosted the game.

Green­lee earned all-state hon­ors that sea­son and was named the quar­ter­back on the AP Su­per Team af­ter pass­ing for 1,552 yards and 16 touch­downs. He added five more rush­ing touch­downs and was elected to the all-star game. He was re­cruited by Arkansas, TCU and Mis­sis­sippi State, and signed with Arkansas. He later trans­ferred to Arkansas Tech, where he played for three sea­sons for the Won­der Boys.

It all came full cir­cle for Green­lee af­ter he moved from Van Buren back to North­west Arkansas. His son, Russ, was a key mem­ber of the 2005 Spring­dale cham­pi­onship team, led by Mus­tain.

“That was won­der­ful to watch,” he said.

Green­lee grad­u­ated from Arkansas Tech af­ter tak­ing 60 hours in one year — 18 hours for three semesters and 12 for an­other — and went to work for Tyson Foods, where he spent 16 years. He has spent the last 12 years at Twin Rivers Foods.

He has three chil­dren, in­clud­ing

daugh­ters Robin and Anna, and four grand­chil­dren.

He also lives in Elm Springs, close to the area where he grew up want­ing to be a Bull­dog.

Photo cour­tesy Shiloh Mu­seum

Spring­dale High quar­ter­back Doug Green­lee (16) rolls out to pass against Fort Smith South­side on Oct. 8, 1982. Green­lee led the Bull­dogs to a state cham­pi­onship that sea­son, pass­ing for 1,552 yards and 16 touch­downs.


Doug Green­lee, for­mer Spring­dale High quar­ter­back who led the Bull­dogs to a state cham­pi­onship in 1982, in his of­fice at Twin Rivers Foods in Fayet­teville.

Photo cour­tesy Shiloh Mu­seum

Spring­dale High quar­ter­back Scott Green­lee (16) talks with a Spring­dale coach Sept. 10, 1982, dur­ing a game against Rogers.

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