New Ferriday coach happy to stay in Miss-Lou

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 12, 2010

FERRIDAY — Chad Harkins can breathe a huge sigh of relief now that he’s landed a head coaching job in the area.

Harkins, who coached the Huntington football team for five years before the school shut down in May due to declining enrollment, was selected as the new head coach for Ferriday High School Thursday.

With Harkins not having to move out of Concordia Parish to find a coaching job, the hiring was highly convenient for him.

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“Me and my family really enjoy living in this area. My daughter loves being here with her grandma and cousins and whatnot, so it’s really a big relief we were able to find a job in the area,” Harkins said.

Coaching at a school with as much tradition as Ferriday was what made the job so appealing to him, he said.

“Ferriday is very rich in tradition. They have great community support and a great fanbase,” Harkins said.

“They have outstanding students with an outstanding band, and they just have a lot of rich tradition that goes way back. It’s always appealing to me when you have a lot of tradition and the kids know about it. It makes it a lot easier to work for that tradition, because it’s all around you.”

And the pressure of continuing that tradition is not something that Harkins is going to shy away from, he said.

“I’m comfortable coaching football and teaching. There’s going to be pressure to win anywhere you go. If you’re a coach, you’re going to put that pressure on yourself to do well and win,” Harkins said.

“I really just want to help mold those kids, not only to win, but to make them grow up and be outstanding citizens. That’s our goal as coaches, and that’s my goal too. We want to win some games along the way, but we really want to make them good citizens.”

Because of all the positives surrounding the Trojan program, Harkins said he has no intentions of using the job to propel him to landing a position somewhere else.

“This is not just a hit and run thing for me, to where we’re looking to go in there, try to win a few games and move somewhere else,” Harkins said.

“This is really something I want to put some roots into. I’m not interested in ever leaving. I’m back in the public school system, at a great high school with great tradition, where I want to stay and work hard so we can establish relationships for the future.”

Working just a few miles away from Ferriday High School for the past five years has given Harkins some familiarity with the Trojan athletes, he said.

“I went and watched them play last year versus Farmerville, and I’ve met several kids around there throughout the time I’ve been in Ferriday. I’m pretty familiar with the kids. I don’t know all of them, but we’ll get that taken care of over time,” Harkins said.

As far as retaining some of the assistant coaches that are already on-hand at Ferriday, Harkins said that’s something he’s thought about. Harkins also said he’s looking to hit the ground running at Ferriday fairly quickly.

“I hope to get in there at the beginning of next week and meet the kids. I think as soon as we get all the how-are-you-doings and nice-to-meet-yous out of the way, we can get straight to work,” Harkins said.

In addition to coaching football, Harkins will be teaching health and P.E. at Ferriday.