BRYANT, Ark. – The longtime head coach of the successful Bryant Hornets high school football team is leaving to take over another Arkansas program.

The Bryant School District announced Tuesday that Buck James informed Superintendent Karen Walters Tuesday that he was leaving the district to become the head coach of the Conway High School Wampus Cats.

James has led the Hornets program since 2016 and has taken the team to five straight Arkansas Class 7A titles, including last season.

In a statement, Walters thanks said she was surprised by the move but thanked James for his efforts in Bryant.

“While we were surprised to learn of this development, we wish Coach James the best moving forward,” she said. “Under his leadership, the staff and teams at Bryant High School achieved unprecedented success in the history of Arkansas high school sports.”

Walters went on to say that the district was opening its search for a new head coach and that administrators were “committed to finding a proven leader to continue our winning tradition.”

“Our program will attract top coaching candidates,” she said. “Our future is bright.”

Prior to his tenure in Bryant, Buck was a coach and assistant athletic director at Little Rock Christian. Before that, he spent more than 15 years as a head coach in Camden and Star City schools. He started his career with a 12-year stint in the Monticello School District.

Buck graduated from the University of Arkansas Monticello, where he also played football and baseball.