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Nowell relieved from Franklin County

By MICHAEL KEREKES

The Natchez Democrat

MEADVILLE — Franklin County High School head coach Jim Nowell has been relieved of his position before ever coaching a game for the Bulldogs.

Franklin County athletic director Chris Calcote confirmed that the school had let Nowell go over the weekend, but declined to discuss the reasons for his termination.

Calcote said he would coach the Bulldogs this season before searching for a replacement in the offseason.

“I offered (the position) to one of the assistant coaches, but he declined, so I’ll take over through when the season ends,” Calcote said. “You can’t find anyone right now. It’s never a good thing to lose a coach midseason or before the season even starts. It puts everyone two to three weeks behind.”

Nowell said in a text message he had nothing but good things to say about Franklin County after his short time in Meadville.

“The folks at Franklin County are good folks — all of them, the kids, the faculty, community and administration,” Nowell said. “It just wasn’t the right fit.”

Despite the circumstances, Calcote said his has a positive outlook on the coming season. Franklin County is set to open Friday night at Brookhaven High School.

“I’ve been coaching football for 39 years,” Calcote said. “It’s nothing new. It’s still about blocking and tackling. I talked to the kids, and I really think we’ll be OK. As long as we give effort, everything else will take care of itself.”

Calcote said his team would face some challenges early on. Starting quarterback Malik Moore has been sidelined with a sports hernia for “a couple of games,” Calcote said, and starting running back Chris Robinson is day-to-day with a sprained ankle.

Franklin County’s entire staff of assistant coaches has been retained, Calcote said.

“We’re going to make the best of it,” Calcote said. “We have some good kids and coaches over here. We’ll move forward.”

Nowell, formerly the defensive coordinator at Pearl River Community College, was hired in February to replace Rickey O’Quinn, who is currently coaching boys and girls basketball at Franklin County.