Hart DL’s Area Coach of Year
Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2005
MEADVILLE — For Franklin County head football coach AnthonyHart, he would trade being named The DAILY LEADER’S All-Area Coachof the Year for two wins and a state championship.
“It’s nice,” smiled Hart. “We’d trade it for a couple of morewins.”
That’s how close Hart and his 12-2 Bulldogs came this season toplaying for the Class 3A state championship in Mississippi VeteransMemorial Stadium Dec. 4.
Hart’s Bulldogs, the runners-up in Region 7-3A, sparkled in thestate playoffs as they rolled over Columbia 49-8, upset Forest33-14 and stunned Tylertown 28-21 in overtime before falling toWest Lauderdale 7-0 in the South state title game at Meadville.
West Lauderdale was whipped by champ Senatobia 41-21 in thestate title game.
In three years at Franklin County, Hart has put together a 29-8record.
“It’s a combination of things,” said Hart about the success.”It’s good assistant coaches and players. Without the coaches andthe players, it wouldn’t happen.”
Hart talked about a few changes in this year’s lineup.
“We didn’t know going in,” explained Hart of two major changes.”Jasper (O’Quinn) and DeAndrea (Cameron) played new positions thisyear. They did a very good job. It was very positive for us.”
Cameron and O’Quinn share the DL’s Offensive Player of the YearAward in 2004.
Hart said the game that was the turning point in the season wasthe victory over Forrest. “When we played Forrest, not many peoplethought we had a chance to win,” explained Hart. “We came out andwe wanted to win. We always played hard.
“I felt like God really blessed us this year,” continued Hart.”It was exciting during the playoffs. It was rewarding. I saw a lotof growth in these young men. Football is not the most importantthing we do down here.”
Hart is quick to share the success with his assistant footballcoaches. “I’ve got good coaches,” stated Hart. “They take care of alot of things. They are good men and coaches.”
His assistant coaches include Raymond Buffington, Tony Gibbs,Grady McCluskey, Charles Moore and Johnny Daves.
Hart felt this senior class contained good leaders.
“This senior group was a great group of leaders,” said Hart.”They had high expectations for the season. They stood up to thetasks. That’s the hardest part of losing.”
This Bulldog senior team won 29 games over 3 years. When Harttook over as head coach, they were sophomores.
Hart graduated from Loyd Star in 1983, playing for Coach RoeBurns. He graduated from Co-Lin where he played football as a noseguard for James Sloan.
Hart graduated from Mississippi College with a degree in healthand physical science and later obtained his masters degree fromAlcorn State.
He is married to the former Traci Frederick. They have threechildren; Daniel (12), Derek (10) and Betsy (1).
Hart coached at West Point for 3 years as an assistant coachunder Bubba Davis and then went to Brookhaven as headbaseball/assistant football coach to Don Coleman. He later coachedat Wayne County and Jasper, Ala. under Davis.
He was head coach at West Lauderdale for one year before goingto Wesson as an assistant to Ronald Greer.
At Loyd Star, Hart was an assistant to Burns and then took overhead coaching duties before taking the Franklin County headcoaching position. He coached the Hornets to the South State 2Atitle game three years ago.
Hart and his family are members of the Macedonia BaptistChurch.
Away from his job, Hart spends his time with his family.
“I thank God for the opportunity to have this job and work withthese kids,” added Hart. “And my wife and kids. I thank thecommunity for their support. When we went to Forrest and Columbia,we had more fans there than they did. The administration has beenvery supportive.”
When he has free time, Hart likes to deer hunt.