Next Man Up

Rob Faircloth is the interim head football coach at Vidalia High.

Rob Faircloth remembers attending Vidalia High football games at the age of 7 and looking down to see his uncle, Dee Faircloth, walking the sidelines as Viking head coach.

"That was a goal of mine even back then," Rob said. "To be head coach of Vidalia."

Thanks to a revised Louisiana High School Athletic Association by-law that prevents coaches who have retired from being a head coach in football and basketball, forcing Dee Faircloth to resign, Rob has now reached that goal, being named interim head coach of Vidalia High.

Vidalia High principal Bernie Cooley said he met with all the Vidalia High coaches and they all agreed that Rob Faircloth should be the interim head coach.

Rob, who was the 2017 Concordia Parish Educator of the Year, served as defensive coordinator at Vidalia last season in his fourth year as a Viking assistant coach.

While relishing his new title, Rob was not happy about the way it came about.

"It's bittersweet," he said. "But Coach Faircloth has prepared me for this. And he's told me he will help me in every way possible. He's going to be like the Phantom of the Opera, in the shadows with his mask. He loves these kids way too much to completely get out of it. No one cares more about them."

Dee Faircloth did not want to comment on the by-law but is happy to see Rob taking the reins.

"He's going to get them together and do a great job because he's one of them," Dee said. "He works very hard in his preparation and his team will always be ready to play. I'm proud of him. He's come a long way. And he's doing something he loves to do."

Rob Faircloth, 34, is also appreciative of the support he has received.

"So many people have come up to me and told me they have my back," he said. "And that definitely means the world to me."

Rob Faircloth and Kale Davis are the lone full-time coaches on the staff at this time.

Davis will be offensive coordinator, while Faircloth will still handle the defense.

"I have total trust in Kale," Rob said. "He is an excellent coach and person."

Faircloth said it's not like he has had to start all over.

The Vikings are coming off two straight nine-win seasons.

"Everything has already been established and already put in place," Faircloth said. 

But there is the added responsibility of being head coach.

"It's the little things," Faircloth said. "My to-do list gets bigger every day. There are a ton of little things."

The Vikings reached the quarterfinals last year for the first time since 2003.

"We're losing a four-year quarterback and our receiving corps," Faircloth said. "But we've got a good group coming back. We still have the opportunity to be special. We have our offensive line and defensive line back and our linebackers are solid. We've got to good running backs. And there are a lot of young players that people haven't heard about who are going to be well known by the end of the year."

Faircloth said he knows he has to change his demeanor on the sidelines as head coach.

"I have to be a better example and show more poise," he said. "But I'm still going to get excited out there."

And he believes there will be a lot to be excited about this season.

"I will give this town, this school, these players and every individual connected with Vidalia High everything I have," he said. "I can promise you that." 


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