James Halitzka leaving Bergman for Greenwood

GREENWOOD – The void left by Clay Reeves within the Greenwood girls basketball program will be as tough to fill as any by a departing coach in state history, but a proven James Halitzka is up for the challenge.

Halitzka was officially approved by the school board Tuesday night as the next up to lead the Lady Bulldogs following Reeves’ storied career that spanned 36 years, 21 of those with Greenwood where he won eight of his 11 state championships. Reeves retired last month due to medical concerns.

Reeves and Halitzka will be on the staff for the girls West team in this month’s Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star Game. Reeves will be the head coach, while Halitzka will assist. It will be Halitzka’s third time to coach in the All-Star Game.

While Reeves is one of the greatest coaches to ever walk the sidelines in Arkansas prep basketball history, Halitzka has established himself in the last decade – particularly the past three seasons. He compiled a 315-88 record in 10 seasons at Bergman, 187-22 over the past five, that includes winning two state titles in 2022 and 2024.

Halitzka led the Lady Panthers to a 43-0 season in 2021-22 en route to the program’s first state championship. The Lady Panthers made another deep run to the semifinal round in 2023 before throttling defending champion Salem in last March’s Class 3A final to earn their second title in three years. He has also coached at Kennett (Mo.), Weiner and Emmet. In all, Halitzka has 430 victories, six state semifinal appearances, five regional championships, five district championships and has been tabbed 3A Coach of the Year three times. Bergman also went on a 56-game win streak under Halitzka.

Greenwood is the current standard of Arkansas prep girls basketball as a three-time defending Class 5A champion. The Lady Bulldogs have won four state titles in the past five seasons counting the 2020 shared trophy they shared with Nettleton.

(Cover photo courtesy of Arkansas PBS)