James Singleton

McAlester head football coach James Singleton has resigned after four seasons on the job. Singleton went 26-18, including playoffs. He guided the Buffaloes to a trip to the Class 5A state quarterfinals in 2015 and 2016. 

The search is on for McAlester's next football coach after James Singleton emailed a resignation letter Wednesday after four seasons.

It's a decision Singleton said he had been considering the last couple of weeks to figure out what was best for him. He called it a fork in the road, but talked to McAlester's administration and the decision was not as tough as he thought it would be.

"I'm kind of getting to the point in my life where I've got to look to the future a little bit," Singleton said in a phone interview with the News-Capital. "I'm 45 years old and I might have an opportunity to stay in administration. So, I'm going to check out that avenue and see how that goes."

Singleton guided the Buffaloes from 2015 to 2018, compiling a record of 26-18 with appearances in the Class 5A state quarterfinals in 2015 and 2016. McAlester then had a 3-7 record in 2017 and a 4-6 record in 2018, missing the playoffs on the final day of the regular season in the latter year.

Before coaching at McAlester, Singleton was the head job at Fort Gibson for four seasons and finished with a 33-15 record. He also was previously the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Muskogee, and had been the offensive coordinator for eight years at Sallisaw.

He wrote in his resignation letter that he believed the players who were part of the program during his tenure were better people than they were before they entered.

"I coach football to try to make a difference in kids' lives," he said in his interview. "...The longer you're here, the more you get to know those kids, the better the relationships are." 

He is currently the dean of students at McAlester High School. Singleton said he plans to remain on staff at McAlester, where his youngest son, Parker, is a junior and has played football. Coach Singleton said he will make some more decisions after his son graduates.

Coach Singleton has two other sons: J.R. Singleton is attending the University of Oklahoma, while Bryce Singleton is a linebacker for the University of Central Oklahoma.

"At the end of the day, you want to be closer to your kids," he said, while adding he's trying not to make plans too far into the future. 

He wrote in his email statement that whoever succeeds him will inherit a team with nine returning starters on offense and nine returning starters on defense. Coach Singleton thinks the program is in a pretty good place. 

"I think it's got nowhere to go but up," Coach Singleton said in his interview.