• 84°

Hart takes top job at Franklin County

MEADVILLE – After a one month search and numerous rumorsregarding a replacement, the Franklin County Bulldogs finally namedtheir new head coach. They only had to go 25 miles to find him.Loyd Star head coach Anthony Hart accepted the job, after theFranklin County school board voted in his approval.

Hart replaces veteran Bulldog coach Michael Goff who steppeddown in early March to become Transportation Director of FranklinCounty. Goff also will continue as athletic director.

“It was a hard decision, but this is the way the Lord led me,”said Hart. “It’s hard leaving a place that’s been so good. I justfelt that it was the best thing for me and my family to do.”

Hart, 37, will be leaving the head coaching reigns at Loyd Starafter three years of walking the sidelines. He established a 19-6record in two years as head coach of the Hornets.

“I debated about this decision for a while,” added Hart. “I justput it in the Lord’s hands and he guided me in the rightdirection.”

Hart’s Hornets established an 11-3 record this past season thatincluded an appearance in the Class 2A South State Championshipgame against Gulfport St. John. He has led the Hornets to theplayoffs in both seasons as head coach and hopes to build on to analready established Bulldog program.

“Franklin County’s a great place.” continued Hart. “I’m glad tobe given the opportunity to coach here. Overall it was a hardchoice to make.”

Hart is a 1983 Loyd Star graduate. He played football atCopiah-Lincoln Community College and later graduated fromMississippi College. He has previously coached at Brookhaven, WestPoint, Wayne County, Jasper, Ala. and Wesson.

Hart met with the Loyd Star players yesterday about hisdecision. He will be officially introduced today as head footballcoach at FHS. He’s expected to meet with Bulldog players and stafftoday, before entering spring practice Monday.

“I’ll be going back and forth these next few weeks,” added Hart.”I’ll finish with class here at Loyd Star around 2:15, and thentravel to Meadville to conduct spring workouts and drills. I’ll bebusy to say the least.”

Hart will be teaching Comprehensive Health at FHS. He will alsoserve as the Director of Football Operations at Franklin. He’ll bein control of all gridiron programs from seventh grade through highschool.

“I feel we’re getting a quality coach and person here,” saidFranklin County High School Principal M.D. Bilbo. “This is thefirst time we’ve had to search for a coach in 30 somethingyears.”

The Franklin school board selected Hart from 16 nationalapplicants, ranging from as far away as California and Tennessee.Hart was notified a few weeks ago that he was a finalist, beforethe board approved his hiring Tuesday evening.

“(Hart) debated about the offer, instead of jumping at it atfirst,” continued Bilbo. “He carefully took time out and consultedwith family and friends before making his final decision.”

Hart’s departure will now leave three Lincoln County schoolswithout a head football coach this spring. Loyd Star joinsBrookhaven and Bogue Chitto in search for new gridiron coaches.Willie Brumfield was hired three weeks ago to lead the West Lincolnprogram after Roe Burns resigned in December.

“Overall it’s hard leaving the great people and family here atLoyd Star, but I know I’ll be going into the same atmosphere atFranklin County.” added Hart. “It’s just an opportunity I know Ihad to take.”

Loyd Star principal Terry Brister said Hart would be missed. “Wehate to see Anthony go because he has done such a go good job forus. He has taken our program to the next level.

“He and his family are from this area and they do a great jobteaching and working in the community.”

Brister said assistant coach Johnny Daves has resigned and takena position with Ocean Springs. Bradley Crow and Sidney Wheatleywill continue coaching the team during spring football practicewhich starts Monday. The Loyd Star Jamboree is scheduled forFriday, May 17.

Barry Reeves, Loyd Star’s offensive coordinator, resigned inDecember to enter private business.