Don Floyd, fondly known just as ''Coach'' to all who knew and loved him, passed away peacefully, in Little Rock, Monday, September 26, 2016, at the age of 87. He was born in Charleston, Arkansas, May 27, 1929, to L.A. (Jack) and Verna Sharp Floyd. His passion for football started at an early age where he played, graduated and later coached his beloved Charleston Tigers.
After graduating from Charleston High School in 1947, Don attended Arkansas Tech University until 1950 when he took a break to proudly serve his country. He joined the Army and served in Korea as a Chief Artillery Survey Specialist from 1951–1952. Upon returning from Korea, he continued to serve in the Army Reserves and National Guard until he retired with the rank of Captain in 1963. He returned to Arkansas Tech in 1953 and earned a B.S. in Education. He received a Master's in Education from Arkansas State University in August 1964.
While attending Arkansas Tech the second time, he also met the love of his life, Betty Pickens Floyd. He was the football player and she was the cheerleader, roles they carried throughout their lives. Don and Betty married on May 30, 1954 and soon had two beautiful daughters, Donna and Marty.
He began his coaching career at Charleston in 1953 where he taught and served as head football and track coach for four years. In August, 1957, Don became Head football Coach and Athletic Director for Stuttgart High School. During his seven year tenure at Stuttgart, his teams won 53 games, lost 21, and tied 2, and the Ricebirds earned the District II-AA championship and were ranked third in the state. He served as president of the Arkansas High School Coaches Association, an organization that also named him the Outstanding Football Coach of the Year in 1960. He also produced two championship track teams while at Stuttgart. In 1961 he received a Distinguished Service Award from the Stuttgart Jaycees. In his 11 years of coaching high school football, he had only one losing season.
In January 1964, Don was named defensive backfield coach for the Arkansas State Indians under Coach Bennie Ellender. After serving one season and helping the team to their second, undefeated season in history, he was named as the Assistant Athletic Director and also coached the tennis team. Don was named Athletic Director in July 1969. He was also a member of the football program when the Indians won the 1970 National Championship which was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the athletic department, Don felt he attained two major goals during his tenure as athletic director – raising the required funds to build and overseeing the construction of the current Centennial Bank Stadium (formerly Indian Stadium) and Division I status for ASU for all sports. He was always an Indian fan, but warmed to the new Red Wolves mascot over time. The ole Coach rarely missed a game from 1964 through the 2014 football season. In 2003, Don was inducted in the ASU Letterman's Club Hall of Honor, which recognizes former athletes, coaches and other key personnel responsible for history, glory, and success of the ASU athletic programs.
In January 1975, Don joined the staff of newly elected Senator Dale Bumpers, a long-time friend from Charleston, where he headed up his Arkansas office until he retired in 1991. In this capacity, he handled public relations and worked to help the people of Arkansas resolve issues with certain government agencies, such as welfare and Social Security.
Don and Betty moved to Cherokee Village in 1993, where they built a home on Lake Thunderbird and enjoyed retirement to its fullest. He loved the outdoors and, when not watching football or coaching from his seat in the Happy Hunting Grounds, he enjoyed golfing, gardening, and traveling, especially family vacations to the beach. His annual Christmas light display often won first prize, but more than the prizes, he loved the joy it gave others. Don and Betty loved entertaining, often hosting parties for family, friends, and really anyone who wanted to join the fun! Neither of them ever met a stranger and wherever they were, there was always love and laughter. Don was a loyal servant of God and a dedicated member of the Cherokee Village United Methodist Church. After moving to Little Rock in 2012 he found a home at FaithSpring Church.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife of 53 years, Betty Floyd, brothers, Davis and Jerry Floyd, sister, Jacque Peterson, and granddaughter, Alexandra Gimon. He is survived by his daughters, a granddaughter and their spouses: Donna Floyd and Gene Little of Hot Springs Village, Marty Floyd and Bill Goff, and Lindsey Moore Boerner and Sharp Shooter (a.k.a. Crystal Boerner…Coach's nickname for her) all of Little Rock and a host of extended family including nieces, nephews and many friends whom he considered family. He will also be missed by his constant companion of the last three years, Montine Brunk.
In addition to being an awesome husband, daddy and granddaddy, the man known as "Coach" touched lives over many generations, molding young men and women through athletics. He spent his life teaching, coaching, mentoring and helping others, but to him it was what he was called to do. His was a life of service to others. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the amazing staff at Clarity Pointe Assisted Living for their care and compassion the last two years and for loving on Coach every day! The family would also like to thank Gentiva Hospice for the care they provided during the last two week.
Visitation will be Thursday, September 29, 2016 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Roller-Chenal Funeral Home. A service honoring Coach's life will be held in the chapel at Roller-Chenal, Friday, September 30, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. Nothing would make Coach happier than seeing those who loved him wearing the Red Wolves attire! In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Cherokee Village United Methodist Church, Labyrinth Fund, P.O. Box 420, Cherokee Village, AR 72525 or to the Arkansas State University Red Wolves Foundation, in memory of Don Floyd, PO Box 2219, State University, AR 72467.