Franklin County finds head coach in O’Quinn

Published 12:27 am Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MEADVILLE — Three years removed from winning a state championship in football, the Franklin County Bulldogs have ended their four-month long coaching search by promoting assistant coach Rickey O’Quinn to head football coach.

The Franklin County school board approved O’Quinn’s hiring Tuesday afternoon, he is the first black head football coach at the school and a Class of 2000 graduate of Franklin High.

“I’m honored and excited,” said O’Quinn about taking over the Bulldog football program. “I’m ready to get started right away.”

O’Quinn has worked as assistant the last five years. He was a member of the Class 3A State Championship staff in 2006, working as wide receivers coach.

“I’ve been here during the ups and the downs,” O’Quinn said. “I’m ready to take over and start the spring out with a clean slate.”

The Bulldogs went 9-4 last year, losing to Morton in the third round of the state playoffs. Three weeks after the loss former Bulldogs boss Trent Hammond ended a two-year stint at the school, leaving to become Amory’s new head football coach.

Franklin County has introduced a new coach four times since 2002. The Bulldogs have gone a combined 47-10 the last four years under former bosses Grady McCluskey (2006-2007) and Hammond (2008-2009).

“We’re going to continue to give 100 percent,” O’Quinn said. “The kids here are excited. I’ve been coaching most of them since they were in Junior High.”

Three all-state juniors return for the Bulldogs next season in offensive tackle Preston Shelton, safety Billy Norman, and cornerback Milton Griffin.

Franklin County must replace eight starters on defense and six on offense.

“We’ve got some work to do,” said O’Quinn, whose younger brother Jasper O’Quinn plays defensive back for the Arena League’s Milwaukee Iron. “I’ve got a good staff surrounding me and that’s always plus.”

Brent Calcote, Tony Gibbs, Adam Barron and Michael Goff are expected to return next season as assistants for the Bulldogs. O’Quinn plans to open up the Bulldogs offense and get away from the Wing-T style set it has run the last two years.

The Bulldogs open the 2010 season Aug. 20 against Loyd Star.