Harrison resigns as Ferriday coach

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 26, 2010

FERRIDAY — Mama called, and Ferriday High School head football coach Freddie Harrison couldn’t tell her no.

Consequently, Harrison announced to his team Monday that he would be resigning from his post as coach of the Trojans and moving back to familiar territory.

Harrison has accepted the head coaching position at Washington-Marion High School in his hometown of Lake Charles, La. Despite it being home, Harrison said it was tough telling his players about his decision.

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“Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” Harrison said. “Seeing the tears in their eyes, it broke my heart.

“At the same time, I had to do what was best for myself and my family. It was a good opportunity for me to get back home. There aren’t many jobs I would have left Ferriday for, but this one came up, and it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass on.”

Ferriday principal Michelle Bethea said she’s saddened that Harrison will be leaving, but understands his reasons for doing so.

“I hate it,” Bethea said. “The Ferriday High School family is saddened and will miss him tremendously. He was an asset not only to my faculty, but also to our football team.

“He’s young, and he’s been away from home. When an opportunity comes along that’s a step up for him, I’m happy for him being able to advance. We’re all proud of him.”

In taking over Washington-Marion, Harrison said he’s walking into a situation that’s not just close to home, but a place that has a winning history.

“I know one thing, they have a really good tradition,” Harrison said. “The last couple of years, it hasn’t been showing up in their win-loss column, but they’re a team that has a lot of potential.”

When looking back on his time at Ferriday, Harrison said he hopes his players took the lessons he taught to heart.

“I hope the kids learned some valuable lessons, and learned to do things right all the time,” Harrison said. “If they do that, I don’t care about the win-loss column, just the product of the kids we put out in society.”

Bethea said the search for a replacement wouldn’t begin until the Concordia Parish School Board declares the position vacant at its next board meeting. After that, she said she would begin accepting applications.

“The No. 1 thing I’m looking for is a teacher and a coach — in that order,” Bethea said. “I want someone that will help our kids in the classroom. I don’t believe you can gain academically unless you discipline yourself to do so, and that’s something that translates onto the field.”

Right now, though, Bethea said she’s focused on other things going on at Ferriday.

“My concentration right now is getting past the graduation exit exam,” Bethea said. “We started those this week, and will wrap them up in April. That’s my main priority right now, making sure the students are prepared and ready to take that test.”

Harrison coached the Trojans for three seasons, compiling a 24-11 record. Ferriday made the playoffs all three years of his tenure.