Friday, May 08, 2015

TOP STORY >> JHS fixture set to retire

Marvin Lindley, an art teacher at Jacksonville High School and a former coach, announced Friday that he is retiring after 37 years of working for the Pulaski County Special School District.

For the last 26 years, Lindley has taught art at JHS, where he coached football, baseball, track and tennis over the years. He was named PCSSD’s fine arts teacher of the year in 2006.

He has also sold prints of his own pen-and-ink wildlife drawings and other artwork. Several of his students have been recognized for the artwork they’ve done under his supervision.

Lindley is known for producing several public murals around town and in schools, the latest was a tribute to veterans at the Hook Restaurant.

Early in his career, he painted a large falcon in the gym at North Pulaski High School, where he was the head football coach for the junior high, and painted signs on the press box and in the weight room. North Pulaski had grades 7-12 until Northwood Junior High School opened.

After a brief stint as director of a screen-printing company, Lindley returned to teaching art and coaching at Northwood, which was new then. There he painted a large knight on horseback on the gym wall.

Two years later, he moved to J.A. Fair High School, which was also new and was part of PCSSD but is now in the Little Rock School District.

For five years, Lindley served as an art teacher, head track coach and defensive coordinator for a very successful program. At J.A. Fair, he painted several war eagle mascots as well as “Home of the War Eagles” on the press box.

“In the disorder caused by the desegregation lawsuit, I landed at Jacksonville High. I was an assistant football coach under Johnny Watson for 19 seasons, as the Red Devils competed in the state’s highest classification. I also served as an assistant track coach before becoming head baseball coach,” Lindley explained.

In his 10 seasons, the Red Devils baseball team was recognized as being among the state’s best and were five-time conference champions and often ranked among the state’s top teams. Lindley was honored as conference coach of the year four times and was twice an assistant coach in the State All Baseball Star Game. In 1998, he was elected as the head coach for the Arkansas North All Star Baseball Team.

While at Jacksonville, he was called on to do several projects. After redesigning the Red Devil mascot, it was painted on the field house, press box and inside the school. He also painted a large emblem and the school’s name on the building’s north wall. His handiwork includes countless banners, signs, posters, T-shirt designs and more for clubs, events and groups at the school.

After helping design and build the large indoor workout facility, complete with batting cages and a new weight room, he painted the mascot and team name, which covers one entire end wall of the building.

In the weight room, he painted a motivational design with the slogan “Jacksonville Iron Works.” His painting was not limited to brick or wood surfaces. During his coaching days, Lindley also conceptualized and painted large designs on the grass in the center of the football field. He and his students began the tradition of painting designs on the field for each graduation ceremony. He also designed the large 3D logo that hangs in the former PCSSD School Board meeting room.

When his former boss and long-time friend Johnny Watson left JHS to become head football coach at Little Rock Christian High School, Lindley began volunteering as a coach at the west Little Rock private school.

In his five years there, he helped to build a successful football program that won an undefeated conference championship and was a runner-up in the 5A state championship.

Watson also provided many opportunities for Lindley to use his artistic and other abilities. He painted Little Rock Christian’s praying hands logo on the gym wall and on the field and also painted large motivational words around the walls of their new weight room.

Watson had him construct large oak and glass trophy cases for the athletic building. Lindley also decorated the halls of the building with the school logo, display boxes for each sport, areas for displaying championship plaques and a wall of fame honoring athletes in all sports selected as All State.

Lindley still helps Watson, who is now the athletic director at Little Rock Christian, organize the Arkansas High School All Star Games.