Lonnie Cooper

Franklin Parish High School is looking for a new boys basketball coach after Lonnie Cooper accepted the head coaching job at Carroll High School in Monroe.

Cooper replaces the legendary Jesse Burnette, who retired earlier this year. Burnette won three state championships at Carroll.

Franklin Parish Athletic Director Barry Sebren said he hates to see Cooper leave, but said that's more reason why he would love to see a Metro/Rural split in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

"We have a harder time competing against the resources that city schools have," Sebren said. "It's hard for us to keep certified people. They come here and they are successful and then a city school comes along and sweetens the pot."

Sebren said he hopes to name a coach soon.

"I promise you we will have a very qualified person coming in," Sebren said. "But Lonnie could have stayed here as long as he wanted."

Cooper, who was  inducted into the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame on May 4 at the Embassy Suites in Baton Rouge for his playing days at McCall in Tallulah and Louisiana Tech, was named head coach at Franklin Parish two years ago after boys basketball coach Donzell West was relieved of his duties almost midway through the season.

Cooper's team went 5-4 the rest of the year against mainly district competition.

Last year, Franklin Parish advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since the school consolidated in 2004 as the Patriots defeated Woodlawn of Baton Rouge 51-48 Tuesday in Baton Rouge in a Class 4A regional contest.

Woodlawn, ranked No. 25, upset No. 8 Lakeshore to earn the home game.

Franklin Parish was eliminated by No. 1 Bossier 72-30.

Franklin Parish ended its year at 27-7.

"It was a tough decision leaving Franklin Parish," Cooper said. "I enjoyed being there. The people were very nice and very supportive. The person who comes in is going to have really good kids. They played hard for me and I really appreciated that. They have had a taste of success and will be returning a really good team."

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