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Oliver takes job at Baker

ferriday — Last season, first-year head coach Richard Oliver led Ferriday High School to a 5-6 record and a playoff appearance.

This season, the Trojans will have to put their playoff hopes in the hands of yet another first-year head coach.

Oliver accepted the opportunity to become Baker High School’s (Baker, La.) athletic director and head football coach this week, and Ferriday has started its search for his replacement.

“We are accepting applications at the central office,” Ferriday principal Michelle Bethea said. “And the (job posting) will run over two weeks and then we will interview for the head football coach and physical education teacher.”

Bethea said the job posting is on the Concordia Parish School Board website.

Oliver, who is a Baton Rouge native, said being closer to home was a huge factor in his decision to head to Baker.

“It’s home,” he said. “It’s in Baton Rouge, and I’m originally from Baton Rouge. My family is still in Baton Rouge, so it was kind of a no-brainer.”

Oliver said he enjoyed his one season at Ferriday, and his move was not based on a negative feeling toward Ferriday or its high school.

“It wasn’t anything against Ferriday,” he said. “The community and kids are wonderful. I really enjoyed coaching there. I made a lot of friends and, hopefully, they will be lifetime friends.”

Oliver said he interviewed for the position at Baker just after the school year ended. Bethea said she was aware Oliver interviewed.

Bethea said Ferriday has had trouble retaining coaches in recent years.

“We’ve had our ups and downs keeping coaches,” she said. “Getting folks in Concordia Parish, which is a more rural area compared to Baton Rouge, is hard. It’s hard to compete with those school districts.”

Bethea said her tenure as principal of Ferriday will end at the end of the month, and she will not be involved in the hiring of the new coach.

“I won’t be in the driver’s seat deciding who will be head football coach,” she said. “I will consult with Mr. (James) Davis, the assistant principal, and he will probably be the one that makes the recommendation to the superintendent.”

Bethea said she believes Davis is well qualified to handle the coaching search.

“He will be looking for the same things I will look for in an applicant,” she said. “We want someone who will put the welfare of the students No. 1 and have academics at the top of the list.”

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