By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
Hilltopper football has a new coach.
Franklin “Donny” Rogers was named the head football coach at Houston High School Monday night on a unanimous vote of the Houston school board.
Rogers was introduced to coaches Tuesday morning and will have his first chance to meet with players next week. Rogers was an assistant coach at Kosciusko High School and, while Rogers has an extensive gridiron record in Alabama, this will be his first head coaching post in Mississippi.
School Board President Bart Munlin said a statewide search was conducted and a pool of 20 applicants was narrowed down to a field of six finalist by a committee made up of former football coach Buz Boyer, who was named Houston High School principal this summer, and Houston Superintendent Dr. Steve Coker.
Rogers’ name was presented to the board Monday night by Boyer. Coker was attending the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents meeting in Biloxi and was unable to attend.
“He will start work immediately and will be here (Tuesday) to meet with me and the coaches,” said Boyer. “He can’t meet with the kids until Monday, but he has plenty to do.”
Munlin said he was looking for someone who was more than just a coach.
“I wanted someone who could interact with athletes, teachers and administrators, motivate students to perform at peak levels,” said Munlin, “and someone who could create some excitement for Topper football.”
The decision to pick Rogers was not without questions or concerns.
Trustee Rayburn Parks said he was not sure the process had examined all the candidates for the position.
“I have had people calling me and saying they haven’t been interviewed and were interested in this job,” said Parks. “There are people out there that want to sit down and talk to Buz about this job.”
The board entered a 15-minute executive session with Boyer to talk about the process and Rogers.
On a motion by Trustee Carol Byrne and a second by Trustee Marvin Beard, Rogers was unanimously named the head football coach. Trustee Zack Huffman was not at Monday’s meeting.
Rogers was offensive line coach at Kosciusko last season where the Whippets went 8-4 and lost to New Albany in the second round of the playoffs. His teaching background is in elementary education and social studies.
Rogers was assistant strength coach at Southern Academy, offensive line coach at Bessemer Academy, defensive coordinator at Tarrant High School, head football coach and athletic director at Geneva County High School, head football coach and athletic director at Gordo High School and head football coach and athletic director at Dozier High School, all in Alabama.
Rogers’ resume pointed out he coached four state championship teams and has been named Coach of the Year seven times at various levels. As offensive coordinator he compiled a 12-1 record and his teams averaged 43 point a game. As defensive coordinator he notched a 10-2 record and his defense was ranked No. 1 in Alabama among all classifications.