Daily photo by Emily Saunders|
David Arnsparger is leaving Alabama A&M as an assistant football coach to take the reins of the West Limestone football job. He also will teach history.
New W. Limestone coach eager to teach history, too
By Josh Cooper
Limestone County is a long way from Miami.
A long way from Gainesville, Fla., Monroe, La., Ithaca, N.Y., and Laramie, Wyo.
But West Limestone High is now the coaching home to David Arnsparger, son of former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger.
On June 7, David was named head coach of the Wildcats’ football team, replacing Jeff Prince and taking over a team that has won four games in the past three years. Before coming to West Limestone, Arnsparger and his family had traveled the country as he worked as a collegiate assistant.
The West Limestone job is a package deal for Arnsparger, who spent the previous five years as an assistant coach at Alabama A&M. Coaching at West Limestone fulfills a lifelong dream of being a high school football coach and history teacher for Arnsparger.
“My undergraduate degree was in history,” Arnsparger said.
“That is something I have always enjoyed. It is something I have always enjoyed studying since college and graduate school. Taking those history courses and social studies courses. It is something I like.”
It also puts Arnsparger closer to his wife’s home. Kim Arnsparger is from Decatur. They have three children: sons Stephen and Christian and daughter Sarah. David said this is a good area to raise them.
“(Kim and I) talked about, ‘If we could live anywhere, it would be in North Alabama,’ ” Arnsparger said. “After moving all around, we decided five years ago that we would come back and pursue those goals of being a teacher and a high school coach,”
At a Founders Day event at Alabama A&M, Arnsparger was introduced to Limestone County Superintendent Barry Carroll, an A&M graduate.
Arnsparger said the two hit it off, and after some back and forth banter, Carroll moved forward to talk with him about the head coaching vacancy at West Limestone.
He interviewed for the job June 6, and was named head coach — and history teacher — June 7.
“It happened real fast,” Arnsparger said. “But it’s something I had been planning on doing since I came back down here five years ago.”
But don’t expect any father and son coaching tandem.
Arnsparger says he talks to his father frequently, but it’s more the normal father-son chitchat than anything else.
The elder Arnsparger is retired and living in San Diego, but says he will try to make as many Wildcats games as possible.
“This is (David’s) ambition for as long as I can remember,” Bill said. “And we are happy that he has a situation he has always wanted.”
The younger Arnsparger is sort of a “football brat.”
He was born in Baltimore when his father was a coach there, but moved to Miami in the early 1970s when his dad became the defensive coordinator with the Dolphins. Bill’s other stops included New York as head coach with the Giants, LSU as head coach, and athletics director at the University of Florida.
Bill’s last coaching stop was with the San Diego Chargers as defensive coordinator from 1992-95.
As a youngster, David would help out as much as possible with the Dolphins. He did the team’s laundry and stood on the sidelines of some of Miami’s biggest games as its ball boy.
During that time, he became close with former Alabama coach Mike Shula, who along with his ballboy duties, would chart plays.
Arnsparger was there for the Dolphins’ Super Bowl championships in 1972 and ’73. After a stint with the Giants, Bill Arnsparger returned to the Dolphins where he helped them to the Super Bowl again in 1984, losing to San Francisco. Bill Arnsparger also was in charge of the Chargers’ defense when San Diego lost to San Francisco in the Super Bowl at the end of the 1994 season.
Despite his laundry list of big football events attended, David Arnsparger shrugs them off. It was just typical to him. He said having his dad work as an NFL football coach was cool, but not extraordinary.
“It was normal for me, because my dad was a football coach,” he said. “But it was fun.”
While getting his master’s in education at the University of Florida, Arnsparger served as a graduate assistant. He then went to Notre Dame and took the same job there.
And from that point, his collegiate coaching career took off.
He then moved to Huntsville in 1992 for an initial go-around with Alabama A&M as the defensive backs and special teams coach.
It was during that time he met Kim.
From 1994-97, he was the wide receivers coach at Northeast Louisiana — now Louisiana-Monroe — then moved to Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1998 where he coached defensive backs.
In 2001, he became the safeties coach at Wyoming before moving back to Alabama A&M in 2002 as a receivers coach.
David Arnsparger at a glance
College: Received bachelor’s degree from Florida in 1987 and a master’s degree there in 1990.
High school coaching career: Gainesville (Fla.) High, 1986, assistant; West Limestone High, 2007-current, head coach.
College coaching career: Florida, 1987-89, graduate assistant; Notre Dame, 1990-91, graduate assistant; Alabama A&M, 1992-93, defensive backs and special teams; Northeast Louisiana, 1994-97, wide receivers; Cornell, 1998-2000, defensive backs; Wyoming, 2001, safeties; Alabama A&M, 2002-2007, wide receivers.
Notes: Arnsparger is the son of former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator Bill Arnsparger, who also served as head coach at LSU during 1983-86 and Florida athletics director during 1986-92. ... David’s wife, Kim, is a Decatur native. ... While at Northeast Louisiana, David developed future Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl receiver Marty Booker.
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