Sonny Nason is returning to Louisiana.
The former Lake Providence football coach accepted the head football coaching job at Franklin Parish on Wednesday.
“I’m anxious to meet the players and assistant coaches and lay the groundwork for spring practice because the next thing you know it will be August,” Nason said. “I want to make sure to get some new stuff implemented before the summer.”
The 55-year-old Nason, who will begin his 28th year of coaching this fall, has spent the last seven years as head football coach at Crossett, Ar.
“It was a unique situation at Crossett,” Nason said. “We were close to Hamburg, which had a lot of excellent athletes. We just had to get it to where the kids at Crossett wanted to be a part of something good.”
The Eagles advanced to the semifinals last year in Arkansas, falling to Shiloh Christian (“The Evangel of Arkansas football,” Nason said) after upsetting Arkadelphia 28-27 the previous week.
“Arkadelphia was the two-time defending state champion,” Crossett said. “We were beat up mentally and physically after that game.”
Crossett started out the season 0-3, but finished 9-4, winning their first conference championship since 2003
Crossett said he knew the season could be a special one after Crossett defeated Warren 38-35 in the fourth game of the season.
“It was the first time in nearly 30 years that Crossett beat Warren,” Nason said.
Nason said he really wasn’t seeking the Franklin Parish job, but was told by a friend about the opening.
“I remembered how well-coached, physical and tough Franklin Parish used to be,” Nason said. “I just started asking questions about the job and got the interview.”
Nason said he is coming in with no pre-conceived notions or ideas about anyone.
“I’m starting with an empty notebook,” Nason said. “Everybody is on an even keel.”
After dropping its first two games last year, Franklin Parish defeated LaSalle and Richwood before dropping its last six games, including a 60-26 loss to Minden in the Class 4A first round.
Whitney McCartney resigned at the end of the season.
A lefthanded pitcher, Nason went on to play college baseball at Pearl River (Miss.) Communit College and at the University of Arkansas-Monticello.
Nason spent four years at Lake Providence where he compiled a respectable 17-23 record, including two playoff appearances, and guided the Panthers to their first district championship since the 1981 last season. In 2008 — Nason’s first season as a head football coach — the Panthers ended a 24-year playoff drought.
Nason was an assistant coach at Bastrop — his alma mater — on three different occasions.
Nason also spent two years as Delta’s offensive coordinator before the school consolidated with Bastrop following the 2004-05 school year. Nason coached wide receivers for the 2006 and ’07 Class 4A state championship teams.
Brad Bradshaw was the Rams’ head coach during Nason’s first two stints at Bastrop.
Nason said he likes to use a spread offense.
“I ran the spread under Bo and Bastrop, and I’ve been doing that ever since,” Nason said. “Of course, your personnel dictates what you do. You can go a lot of different ways with the spread. I had a quarterback last year who threw for 3,600 yards and over 20 touchdowns. When I had Lamar Carraway at Lake Providence, we wanted the ball in his hands because he could run and throw it.”
Defensively, Nason is going to use a 4-2-5 formation.
“We are going to be very aggressive,” he said.
Of course, it all comes down to simple fundamentals, Nason said.
“As long as football has been around it’s all about blocking and tackling,” he said.