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Longtime NLR boys basketball head coach looks back on career

Charging Wildcats head coach Johnny Rice will retire after coaching at NLR for over 30 years

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It's been a long and successful career for North Little Rock boy's head basketball coach, Johnny Rice. 

He announced his retirement last week but made his decision around Spring Break

He just finished his 10th year as the head but has been at North Little Rock teaching and with the basketball program for 31 years. He is also an alumnus of North Little Rock High. 

Throughout his time at North Little Rock he's won six state championships. which also includes this year when the Charging Wildcats won a title. 

Coach Rice says winning this state championship with a great team, was a cherry on top of a fantastic season.

"We had an unreal year. We were able to travel on a national schedule and finish the year ranked. Being successful and winning, really was the icing on the cake," Rice said. 

North Little Rock girls basketball coach, Daryl Fimple has been at North Little Rock for 17 seasons. 

Fimple and Rice have grown close over the years and Fimple says he'll miss seeing him on the court

"Just laughing during the day. There was something always comical. You never felt stressed around him. He's an awesome friend and that's going to continue throughout," Fimple says.

His athletes say that Rice has made them into better players and that he's left an amazing legacy. 

"He was the ultimate leader this year he prepared us for every game. He led us through every game," Junior Tyler Fredrick said. 

"The legacy he left for the NLR community is the top in this area. He definitely will be one of the top five greatest coaches of all time in the state," Senior and Razorback signee Nick Smith said. 

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