BY JACLYN ROSE –
Born in Arkadelphia but raised in Polk County, Bobby Tedder attended Acorn Elementary before finishing his education at Mena Public Schools. The son of Bobby and Rose Tedder, the Librarian at Holly Harshman Elementary, Tedder knew upon high school graduation that he wanted to go into public education. “I loved growing up in Polk County. My child hood was a great time in my life. In my home we ate, slept, and breathed basketball and I played with such a tremendous group of guys at Mena High School (MHS). Coach Stahler was a big influence in my life and I was always drawn to education,” explained Tedder.
After graduating from MHS in1994, Tedder began his college career at Oklahoma Baptist University, where he spent two years on a basketball scholarship. He then transferred and completed his education degree at Ouachita Baptist University, where he also obtained a basketball scholarship.
Tedder married his wife, Joanna, also a Mena High School graduate, in 1997. “I’d always known of Joanna but we officially met in February of 1996 and were married a year later. She has been my rock and is my biggest supporter through everything. It takes a very special person to be a coach’s wife and she is wonderful at it,” said Tedder. The couple has four children: Grace who is fourteen, Jack and Natalie who are ten year old twins and Emma who is three. “I love so many things about being a dad, seeing them grow and becoming their own person while also trying to instill value and morals you want them to have, I think that is my favorite thing about being a parent,” Tedder said.
Tedder’s first coaching job was at his former elementary school, Acorn, where he coached the boy’s basketball team for three years before moving to Greenwood to serve as the assistant boy’s coach for one year. Tedder then moved back home and began his career with Mena Public Schools as their junior high boy’s basketball coach from 2003-2007, when he advanced to the assistant senior high boys coach and then finally in 2008 Tedder became the senior high boys basketball coach at MHS, a position he held until the end of the 2013-2014 school year. “Coaching at my high school is something I always wanted to do. It was my dream, and there were challenges being from here, but I would not trade the experience for anything,” said Tedder.
After choosing this year to step down from coaching and enter the classroom on a full time basis, teaching driver’s ed, Tedder was given a wonderful opportunity by a friend and colleague to coach the junior high boy’s basketball team in Lake Hamilton, Arkansas. “I wasn’t looking for this position at all, but after visiting with my colleague and touring their facilities, I knew this was an opportunity I could not pass up. I am looking forward to coaching this age level. It is a fun age where they are still learning the fundamentals and really learning to love the game,” Tedder explained.
Tedder also greatly enjoys training and fighting Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) with Ryan and Larry Erickson and Robert Hamilton at Southern Impact. “I began MMA to try to get back in shape and it has turned in to another passion of mine. It is the oldest form of sport there is and really helps lower my stress levels,” explained Tedder.
“I love the friendly and familiar faces of the people in Polk County, people that you see every day, that are genuine people. It is also an outdoors paradise. I love to hunt and fish and this will always be home, even if we don’t live here, both of our families are here, so Polk County will always be home,” said Tedder.