TES, Ferriday see summer changes

Published 12:01am Sunday, July 8, 2012

A couple of local schools have had coaching changes at a most inopportune time in recent weeks.

Both Trinity Episcopal and Ferriday High School lost their head coaches in the middle of the summer, during a time when the players are trying to get in shape to prepare for another season.

Richard Oliver announced several weeks ago that he was leaving Ferriday High School to return home to coach in Baton Rouge. Trinity’s Ryan Porter announced his resignation at the school June 30 before even coaching a game.

While Trinity swiftly filled its position by hiring Josh Loy as head coach this past week, Ferriday has yet to make an announcement regarding its vacant head coaching position.

At Trinity, Loy brings with him eight years of coaching experience, including stints at all four of Natchez’s local high schools. Loy also has experience as athletic director, having served in that capacity while he was an assistant at Cathedral High School. He was named both head coach and athletic director at Trinity.

Loy said ideally he would like to run a spread offense and a 3-3-5 defense, but stressed that his systems on both sides of the ball would depend on the type of athletes he has. Since he just has a few weeks to evaluate his players before fall camp starts, Loy unfortunately will have to decide fairly quickly which direction to go with this year’s team.

Trinity’s job opening was the perfect fit for Loy personally, who said that he’s always wanted to be a head coach since starting out in the business. With Loy’s familiarity with the Saints’ program — he coached at Trinity for several seasons under David King — Loy will get a chance to continue the Saints’ strong tradition in football.

With a coaching hire out of the way, the Trinity family now has the responsibility to follow in the footsteps of Headmaster Les Hegwood and bring positive energy to the program. If they don’t, it’s not going to matter what Loy does, because a program is only as strong as those backing it.

Despite not currently having a head coach, the Ferriday players are sticking to their offseason workouts program, which is being run by assistant coach Cleothis Cummings.

Cummings, a Ferriday native, is also in the running for the head coaching position, and there are several positives to his potential hire.

Ferriday has lost two coaches in the last three seasons, Oliver and Freddie Harrison, because both coaches had schools from their hometown call with job offers. That issue would never arise with Cummings, who has both coached for and played at Ferriday High School.

Cummings also has head coaching experience, having been the head man at Ferriday Junior High School during the 2010 season. The players are familiar with him, and he’s already paying his dues by leading the team in summer workouts.

There’s always potential Ferriday High School could strike gold by hiring someone from out of town. Had he stuck around, Oliver likely would have done well at Ferriday. But there’s always that inherent risk that Mama comes calling if the out-of-town coach has any measure of success.

How the school weighs its options will certainly be interesting to follow. Consistency is needed for a change at Ferriday High School, no matter who brings it.