Walter Johnson returns to lead trojan football team

Published 10:42 am Thursday, March 14, 2024

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FERRIDAY, La. — Ferriday native and former FHS Trojan standout Walter Johnson is set to take the reins as the head coach of the FHS Trojan Football team for the 2024-2025 season. 

With a career that spans from Louisiana Tech’s fields to the NFL, Johnson brings a wealth of experience and a profound commitment to the community where it all began. 

Johnson’s journey in football is marked by excellence and dedication. A two-time All-American defensive star at Louisiana Tech, he solidified his legacy by earning a spot in the esteemed Louisiana Tech Hall of Fame. His prowess on the field extended to the professional level, where he proudly donned the Houston Oilers jersey for three seasons. 

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However, Johnson has said his journey transcends mere accolades; it’s about the transformative power of mentorship and the profound impact of community. Reflecting on his time at FHS, Johnson recalled the influence of Coach Jerry Baldwin, who served as a beacon of guidance both on and off the field. Johnson attributes much of his success to Baldwin’s mentorship, emphasizing that without him, his achievements would have been improbable. 

Now Johnson is poised to pay forward the invaluable lessons bestowed upon him. His vision extends beyond the gridiron, as he aims to nurture not just athletes, but future leaders and coaches. Johnson said he is eager to work alongside promising talents like Devontae Scott, Jerel Hayes and Kendarious Jones, recognizing their potential to shape the future of Ferriday football. 

Johnson will soon contact parents for a parent meeting and meet with school administrator Joseph Smith to discuss his role at Ferriday High School. 

Johnson replaces former head coach Cleothis Cummings who led the team to a 5-7 record in 2023, an improvement from a 2-8 record in 2022. Cummings coached for two years before his departure this week. 

In this recent tenure, Cummings got to work to transform the culture into a well disciplined group of kids with tenacity and toughness. They had made progress on their goals in 2023. 

Previously, Cummings had coached at Ferriday before starting in 2012. He was fired in 2015 for not having a certification required of head coaches by the Louisiana High School Athletics Association within a period of three years. He came back to coach at Ferriday following head coach Stanley Smith resigning from the program in 2022. 

Cummings said he did not have any comment about the situation. He was told the news he would not return as head coach of the Trojans Wednesday afternoon. 

“I don’t know what is next for me. I plan to coach in the future just not at Ferriday,” Cummings said. “I wish all of my kids the best of luck and hope they continue to work hard on track and football. They have a job to do and championships to win. They need to stay on task and go do it.”