BENTON – It will be an interim reunion of sorts when Benton Panther Assistant Coach Dwaine Fishburn and Freshman Panther Head Coach David Torres begin the basketball season. After six seasons as Benton’s head basketball coach, Chris Nail took the assistant principal position. Fishburn was named interim head basketball coach and Torres was named the interim assistant coach at the Benton School Board Meeting on Tuesday night. The duo also were interim coaches for the Panthers for the 2006-2007 seasons before Nail’s arrival.
“He’s going to be the interim coach,” Benton Athletic Director Steve Quinn said of Fishburn. “Due to the late timing of the position coming open with school starting in August, we felt like we would be better served to go with an interim head coach this year. He is going to be the interim head basketball coach and Coach David Torres is going to step up and be the interim high school assistant this year, and then we’ll open the position back up in the spring where the timing will be a little better.”
The move makes sense as 6A South Conference champion Panthers will definitely have a familiarity with the coaching staff as Fishburn and Torres have been a part of Benton basketball for years.
“I think the fact that Dwaine and I have been under [Nail’s] system is going to make the transition for those seniors [smooth],” Torres said. “That’s the most important thing. The transition won’t be as devastating as it would be with a new coach with a new system.
“I’m happy for Chris, I’m happy for Dwaine to get the opportunity to be the head coach this year, because he’s definitely head-coaching material. He’s been a high school coach. Congrats to the seniors because we don’t have to change the system, and I guess as far as myself, I’m glad to be able to help the program in any way, form or fashion.”
Trent Morgan was also hired on Tuesday to become the ninth-grade head basketball coach and Seth Glidewell was hired to assist with freshman basketball and football.
Former Coach Nail also thinks the transition for the Panthers will go smoothly.
“I think Coach Fishburn will do an outstanding job,” Nail said. “I think the kids will have some comfortability with him, which can make a big difference. I think he’s going to do a really outstanding job for our students this year. The kids know Coach Torres as well, which will make it smooth. There’s going to be quite a few seniors this year so it will be a good situation for everybody.”
Torres said he and Fishburn have coached against each other and with each other throughout their treks in Arkansas basketball, and Torres is excited about the opportunity to coach with Fishburn again.
“It’s good to be back in the co-pilot seat with him flying the plane,” Torres said. “He’ll do an outstanding job. The program will be in solid hands with Dwaine running the helm.”