PINE BLUFF, Ark — Laydell Jordan looks at the outer wall of the old field house, where there are numerous years dating all the way back to 1916 painted in red on a faded white wall.
"That's all football," he points out. "Those on the top are state championships. Every single one."
Jordan has been a Pine Bluff Zebra since 1972. But the 2019 season will be his last. He's retiring at the end of the year.
A member of the football team from 1972-75, Jordan returned to Pine Bluff as a coach in 1988.
“I could not leave!" Jordan said. "I just couldn’t leave because that Zebra pride and spirit was drilled inside of me.”
Over the last three decades, Jordan has been part of 13 ten-win seasons and six state championships. But he doesn't define himself by his successes.
“Being a graduate of Pine Bluff High, it means a whole lot," said Jordan. "But what I like and look at the most, is how many of the athletes I’ve touched.”
One of those athletes is former Arkansas Razorback running back, Rod Stinson, who took over at his alma mater back in April.
“When this job came open, many people in the community and family and friends all tried to get me to apply for this job," Jordan said. “ But I’ve had my opportunity and I said, ‘you know, this is Stinson’s time. Being a fellow that I coached, I wanted to see him be successful.”
Stinson played for Laydell Jordan in junior high and credits him with influencing his decision to come back to Pine Bluff and become a coach.
“Instilling that discipline and that work ethic," Stinson said when asked what he remembered about Coach Jordan. "It kind of carries over and it’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and do the same thing in this district.”
Almost thirty years later, Jordan can see how the lessons he taught Stinson as a player have carried over.
“I can see some of the things that I done," Jordan said. "I can see it was an impact on him because he kind of does some of the same things, and that’s a joy to see.”
Laydell Jordan acknowledges that the time has come for him to move on. But his impact at Pine Bluff will never be forgotten.
“You know you hear about the legends, you hear about the Willie Roaf’s, the Basil Shabazz’s, and you can go on and on about the amount of people that’s played here," said Rod Stinson. "But you’ve got very few that’s played and coached, and made the impact that he’s made and he’s definitely made a big one for our program."
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