Chad Mercado was hired by the Greenwood Board of Education last Tuesday night as head baseball coach for the Bulldogs, filling the vacancy created by the recent resignation of Trey Holloway.
The new coach was introduced to the community last Wednesday afternoon at the district administration building, a meeting attended by several parents and even a few players. Mercado met with his full team earlier in the day.
His wife Samantha is also an educator, an English teacher, who is hoping to find a position in Greenwood or perhaps one of the surrounding districts.
During last week’s meet-and-greet affair, as her husband was visiting with some of the player’s dads, Samantha sat down for a quick impromptu interview.
While her husband was born and raised in Central Arkansas, Samantha is a transplant.
“I actually grew up in Kansas City,” she said, quickly acknowledging that she is both a Royals’ and Chiefs’ fan.
“I grew up in a suburb outside Kansas City called Independence, [about] five minutes from the [two] stadiums, so I miss professional sports.”
She has also embraced the idea of being a baseball coach’s wife.
“Absolutely,” she said, “[though] it's not what I expected. I knew he played in college, [but] I met him after he was done playing and he wasn't coaching or teaching. So I didn't know I was going to be a baseball wife, but it's fun.”
The couple married in 2011 and just celebrated their eighth wedding anniversary. Their daughter, Penelope, turned five last week, and son, Theo, is 18 months old.
Asked about her own background in education, she said, “I teach English. I've taught ninth grade for one year and the rest of my career has been as a seventh-grade teacher.
They (Greenwood) don't have anything open yet, but I'm hoping to be part of the community,” she said. “I've talked to a couple of the principles, so hopefully something will come up.
Asked about the decision to come to Greenwood and her impression of the community, the coach’s wife said, “I had never heard of Greenwood before this. Four weeks ago is the first time I learned about Greenwood.
“The day after graduation, [Athletic Director] Dr. [Dustin] Smith had us down here. We toured the campus and I was just amazed. It’s like a little paradise.”
As for the region itself, she said, “We've always been attracted to Northwest Arkansas. My family is from Missouri, so [it’s] closer to them. I think the area is beautiful. I think there's a lot to do and it's a great place to raise a family.”
For the Mercados, the next big priority is finding a place to live in Greenwood, selling their home in North Little Rock, and making the move to South Sebastian County.
“We’re working with (realtor) Tonia Hobbs,” said Samantha. “She's fantastic. She's taken us to a few different neighborhoods. We saw about eight or nine houses today.
“We've got to get our house ready [to] put on the market, [so] hopefully we'll be here as soon as possible. It's gonna be a busy summer. But it'll be fun.”
Asked about her role as a coach’s wife and a mom, she said, “I think it's important for [Chad] that his wife and kids be a part of the program, supporting him or just being there for the games – getting to know the families and being part of the community.”