Coach Charlie Sorrels has been involved in Friday night football in Atkins, Arkansas since he was 8 or 9 years old, participating as a water boy while his father coached. This year, the Atkins High School Football Stadium carries his name. Sorrels Stadium was dedicated before the Rivals Cup Game between the two cross county non-conference rivals.
Coach Sorrels was a winning high school quarterback. He attended Arkansas Tech University and became an assistant coach soon after graduation. He carried on the coaching family tradition in Atkins. Coach Sorrels’ record of 176-95-1 was impressive. Competing in the playoffs was a regular occurrence for the Atkins Red Devils under his leadership. His teams won eight conference championships and were participants in the playoffs 19 times.
Coach Charlie Sorrels is known as the “dean of the River Valley.” First and foremost, he is a teacher. From driver’s education to health and physical education and those he coached in athletics, Coach Sorrels positively impacted his students’ lives. His consistently upbeat personality has endeared him to the community.
He is well respected in the athletic community throughout the state. On July 12, 2013, he was inducted in the Arkansas High School Hall of Fame during the induction banquet in Hot Springs. He was inducted along with 15 other honorees including Gus Malzahn, the current collegiate head football coach of the Auburn Tigers in the Southeastern Conference. Coach Sorrels explained why this award is special. He stated, “It’s an award that comes from your peers. Coaches vote on the hall of fame members. The whole process is done by coaches in Arkansas. That, to me, makes it even more special-that it comes from other coaches. Those kinds of honors you don’t ever expect to get because there are a lot of really, really good coaches that never make it. I’m very blessed to be awarded.” He refuses to take sole credit for the success of his football teams. He says, “We’ve been very fortunate to have some very good players during my time coaching here. I may be the recipient of the award, but there’s a whole lot of other people that had something to do with this.”
Coach Sorrels continues to lead the athletic department for the Atkins Public School System. He is the current Athletic Director. He served as the Atkins football coach for 24 years. “The school and the Red Devils have been really important to me and my whole family,” he said. “I’ve been here almost my entire life. I hope I’ve had some influence. I hope I’ve had enough of a good influence on the kids. I just try and do my job and do it the best I can.” Being involved in athletics has kept some kids coming back to school and helped them have motivation to graduate. His program has helped the students succeed in life after football. “I still enjoy seeing the kids and seeing the ones who probably wouldn’t have graduated from high school if it hadn’t been for athletics. It’s a really good feeling.” The entire community has rallied behind Coach Sorrels, and the Red Devil fans show up for every game supporting the athletes and the coaches while demonstrating their RDP, Red Devil Pride. You can follow Coach Sorrels on twitter @coachsorrels. He regularly tweets updates about the success of Red Devil student athletes and other outstanding student achievements.