Franklin County picks Nowell to direct football

Published 9:07 pm Friday, February 8, 2013

MEADVILLE – Jim Nowell brings a wealth of college football coaching experience to Franklin County. He was selected to replace Rickey O’Quinn at the helm of FCHS football fortunes.

FCHS principal M.D. Bilbo said Nowell was a good choice to fill the vacancy. “I’m excited about Coach Nowell coming to Franklin County. We look forward to working with him.”

Nowell, 46, was the defensive coordinator and strength coach for two years at Pearl River Community College, under former PRCC boss Tim Hatten. Nowell is a Simpson County native and a 1984 graduate of Magee High School. “I’m extremely excited to be the head football coach at Franklin County High School,” said Nowell.

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“They have a rich football tradition, good facilities, good athletes, and great support from the community and administration. I can’t wait to get started!” O’Quinn was 23-16 in three years as head coach. The Bulldogs were 7-5 last season and lost to McLaurin in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs.

Nowell attended Co-Lin from 1984-85. He is a University of Southern Mississippi graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and a master’s degree from William Carey University. In addition to his high school coaching experience, Nowell has worked at Mississippi State University, LSU, West Virginia and Western Kentucky.

Nowell has teaching certifications in biology and physical education, along with his administrator’s license. Nowell still is under contract at PRCC until May. He plans to be on the Meadville campus one or two days a week “to visit the kids and evaluate them.”

He started as a high school coach and spent about 10 years at that level. Byram was his first job for one year. He went to work in the Clinton public schools before moving to Florida where he coached at Escambia.

He coached at Collins and was defensive coordinator at Madison Central in 1999, when Coach Mike Justice coached he Jaguars to a state championship.He has been coaching for 24 years.

Asked about his coaching philosophy, Nowell said, “Your personnel certainly dictates what you do on both sides of the ball. I know we have a good tailback coming back. He rushed for about 1,500 yards last year. “We want to play-action pass if we have a quarterback who can throw it. First of all, we want to establish a rushing game. The most important thing is ball security. “Our motto is, ‘Every drive ends in a kick; Either an extra point, a field goal or a punt.’” Nowell ran a 3-4 defensive alignment at Pearl River.

“We probably will be multiple. Defensively, we want to create turnovers and be very, very physical. We want 11 players flying to the football.” He added, “Special teams are a very important part of the game. We want to be very good at special teams.”

He said team effort was a key to success on the football field. “I want to make sure my assistant coaches and players take a lot of pride in all phases of the game.” The Bulldogs kick off their season Aug. 23, hosting Class 5A Brookhaven.

He has been married to his wife, Linda, for 24 years. They have two children. Taylor, 21, is a sophomore at Mississippi State University. Their daughter, Jordan, 15, is a freshman in high school.