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Prep football: Franklin Co. hires Nowell

meadville — Franklin County High School announced Tuesday evening that Pearl River Community College defensive coordinator and strength coach Jim Nowell would be its next head football coach.

Nowell brings high school and collegiate coaching experience to the position, including stints as strength coach for LSU, Mississippi State, West Virginia and Western Kentucky. But the current Pearl River coach said he is glad to be heading back to the high school game.

“I always wanted to be a head high school football coach,” Nowell said. “I was at Madison Central (as an assistant), and had the opportunity to coach in the Southeastern Conference, and I felt like I had to take it, because I might never have the opportunity to do something like that again. This year, I decided it was time to do what I originally set out to do.”

Nowell had a couple of offers on the table, he said, but Franklin County was the perfect fit for him.

“I’m just a country boy from Magee, Mississippi, and the folks (in Franklin County) are genuine and passionate about football,” he said. “Their football is important to them, and I wanted to go somewhere where it’s important.”

Nowell’s current contract requires him to stay with Pearl River CC until May, but he plans on making frequent trips to Franklin County until then, he said. He will take over full time in May.

Nowell knows that he is expected to produce wins for a Franklin County program that is used to winning, he said.

“I have high expectations,” he said. “I haven’t been there to evaluate the talent. I don’t know what we have, but I know a bit about the tradition and know they have won in the past. We will set a goal of winning our division championship, going to the playoffs and playing one game at a time and get better and better every week and see where it takes us.”

Nowell said another goal is to identify talent at the school that is not playing football and get them interested in the game and on the gridiron.

Nowell is certified in driver’s education, biology, health, physical education and administration and said he is willing to serve as an educator wherever Franklin County has a need.

Nowell and his wife, Linda, have two children, Taylor and Jordan.