The season premiere of “Small Town Big Deal” Thursday will feature several faces familiar to a Southern Illinois audience.
The cable television show, hosted by Rodney Miller and Jann Carl on RFD-TV, will focus on basketball coach Rich Herrin, a reunion of the 1984 Akin Bulldogs’ state champion basketball team and an antique tractor ride in Franklin County, the show’s marketing coordinator Tibretta Reiman said.
“It’s going to be a fun episode because it’s kind of about my hometown,” said Miller, formerly of Benton.
Miller and Herrin are longtime friends and were coaching colleagues when Miller led the Bulldogs to the junior high state championship.
For the show, Miller and Carl interviewed a number of Herrin’s former players, including Benton Ranger standout Rich Yunkus, who went on to an All-American career at Georgia Tech.
“Part of this show is about how basketball is a big deal in small towns and how Rich Herrin impacted so many people. It’s quite a story,” Miller said. “He’s one of a handful of coaches who’ve won over 900 games in America. He’s in a pretty elite group.”
The show will also take a look at last May’s Franklin County Farm Bureau Antique Tractor Drive Josh Odom Memorial. The show’s hosts traveled to Southern Illinois to take part in the ride.
“Even though Jann was on ‘Entertainment Tonight’ for 13 years, she grew up country. She loves rural America and the stories we tell,” Miller said. “We did the ride in memory of our own dads.”
The show airs at 8:30 p.m. and will be available for online viewing at the show’s website a few days after the premiere.
On Twitter: @beckymalkovich