West Ouachita wasted no time in hiring a replacement for former head coach Matt Middleton.
Mike Rainwater will make the transition to head coach after spending the last three years as the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs. Rainwater will now lead the Chiefs after Middleton joins Cedar Creek as the Cougars newest head football coach.
"We felt like Mike was going to be a head coach, and he's been coaching since 1999," West Ouachita athletic director Mitch Thomas said. "He has high energy. We're excited about him. He's been on staff here for a few years. He knows the kids. He knows the community. We felt like we'd eventually lose Mike. We didn't want Matt to leave, but with him leaving, we had to make sure we didn't lose a great football mind like (Mike's)."
Rainwater had coaching stops at Riverfield Academy, Ouachita Parish High School, Wossman High School and at the University of Arkansas at Monticello before joining the Chiefs as an offensive coordinator.
"I've been doing this a long time, since 1999, and I'm just grateful for the opportunity," Rainwater said. "We have good kids. We have good administration and good support from our fan base, so the pieces are here. Hopefully I can put my twist and put my stamp on the program."
Thomas sat down with West Ouachita principal Rebekah Oaks Thursday and both felt that Rainwater was "100%" the right choice.
"Just everything about him, from how positive he is to how he coaches the kids, someone was going to hire him as a head coach," Thomas said. "We were lucky he was still here when all of this happened."
Rainwater said he's had opportunities to coach elsewhere since joining West Ouachita's staff in 2018, but he's not a "jumper."
"Being at Ouachita so long under John Carr, that allowed me to have connections with guys like my best friend St. Frederick head coach Andy Robinson and other colleagues at Neville and West Monroe," Rainwater said. "But I like being in one spot. I love this school. I love the people and I love our kids. They are hard working kids. I just felt like I wanted to be here. I knew the future was bright."
West Ouachita averaged 28.3 points per game last season with a 3-3 record.
Middleton believed Rainwater was the right coach to take over West Ouachita's program.
"He was a huge reason as to why we've been able to make strives to where we are," Middleton said. "He's a great football coach."
Rainwater said he would wait and decide what scheme he'd carry into the new year. He's run multiple offenses in the past and won't force a scheme with the wrong personnel.
"We're going to try and put our kids in a position to be successful," Rainwater said. "Our philosphy and our basis start up front with the offensive line. The scheme will come as the spring happens."
West Ouachita will begin spring later this month and host a spring game against Parkway on May 14.