After coaching high school football in Arkansas for the past 13 years, Brooks Coatney is opting for an unlikely career change.
Coatney, passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past two years at Fayetteville High School, is leaving the profession to be the first Arkansas franchisee for The Goddard School, a Pennsylvania-based preschool franchise. Coatney will be the on-site owner of the school at 3916 N. Bellafont Blvd., in Fayetteville, near Firehouse Subs.
Coatney, 36, said he and his wife Amie found The Goddard School a couple of years ago after moving to Fayetteville from Van Buren, where he was head football coach from 2011 to 2014. They were researching care options in the area for their three children and came away impressed with the quality of care. The further the research took him, the more Coatney viewed the business as an opportunity to exit the somewhat vagabond journey of a football coach.
“I’ve coached at five different schools, and we just feel like Northwest Arkansas is home now,” he said. “Coaching has a way of taking you other places, and in a way I didn’t even want that temptation.”
The Goddard School offers year-round programs for children from 6 weeks to 6 years old including after-school enrichment and summer programs. It is franchised by Goddard Systems Inc., based in the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia. GSI has more than 460 franchised schools in the U.S. Each school is a licensed childcare facility with an on-site owner, an education director and a faculty trained in early childhood education or childhood development.
The Fayetteville location is being built by Napa Construction of Fayetteville on a 1.43-acre site off of Joyce Boulevard. Coatney bought the lot in February for $397,931 ($6.39 per square foot), backed by a $2.83 million construction loan from Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
The 8,821-square-foot building will have nine classrooms and capacity for about 145 children. It’s scheduled to be finished by late summer or early fall. That’s right about the time a new high school football season will be starting, and Fayetteville will be seeking its third consecutive state championship.
Coatney, a Greenwood native, knows he will miss the profession and all that comes with it — Friday nights, bonding with players and camaraderie with coaches — but leaving on the heels of two state titles isn’t a bad way to go out, he said.
Coatney’s career move seems apt. He and his wife have three kids ages 8, 5 and 4, and they are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia.