BEEBE, Ark. (KTHV) - As the Beebe Badgers celebrated homecoming tonight, they also honored the legacy of a beloved coach.
Bill Pruitt spent nearly four decades as a football coach in Beebe, during which he impacted many students. He coached hundreds of games and thousands of players at Beebe High School's A.S. "Bro" Erwin Stadium, which is adjacent to the field house named for him.
"I graduated from this school and went back to it in '70," Pruitt said.
Tonight, his arrival on the field unlike any other. Pruitt landed at mid-field on "Survival Flight," a helicopter from Unity Health, to deliver the honorary game ball. It served as a way to honor his legacy and the progress he's made since a farming accident one week after his retirement in 2013.
"I was going to haul hay and the tractor and trailer and 17 bails of hay rolled on me," Pruitt said.
He spent six months in the hospital, overcoming obstacle after obstacle with the perseverance he engrained in players on the field, and with the support of his friends and family.
"The [people] I know in White County -- they're good coaches and they prayed for me," he said. "I'm always thankful for that group of people."
Pruitt's impact on those people and countless others was on full display Friday night, as he was welcomed with cheers as he came to support his beloved Badgers.
"Wishing the Beebe Badgers good luck," he said.
His good luck and support wasn't in vain, as the Badgers went on to defeat Watson Chapel 31-22.