Roberts named Bogalusa’s football coach

Published 11:13 am Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bogalusa High School has named David Roberts Jr. its new football coach, replacing Craig Jones, who was relieved of his football head coaching duties after spending nine years at the helm.

“I’m tremendously excited,” Roberts said. “I look forward to getting up there, being a Lumberjack and just getting things started. I know they have a lot of athletes. I look forward to working with everybody. I know they’re tough kids, and they’re ready to win.”

Roberts had a chance to meet with fans Thursday night at a coaching forum when fans got a chance to meet the final two coaching candidates.

Roberts said meeting the fans helped him out a lot.

“I think the fans there are football people,” Roberts said. “They want to win. They want to support the team and the kids. It’s a smaller town. It kind of reminds me of some of the towns around where I’m from in Monroe. It’s all about football and all about sports.”

Roberts said the fans really enjoy coming out and supporting the team and feels they will enjoy Friday nights.

He said the biggest thing he learned is that the fans care about the players and want them to do well, not just in sports, but also in school.

“That was their main concern and also their behavior, making sure the kids have good character, and they’re learning to do the right things. That was one of their concerns. I like that because I want kids with good character on my team. I want kids that are going to work hard in the classroom as well as on the football field because I think that’s what it takes. Everybody’s not going to get to play college football, so we’ve got to set our goals lofty. Hopefully they can reach them, and we can help them get there.”

Roberts said he coached one of Bogalusa’s players, Dionte Fernandez, in football and track at Chalmette during Fernandez’s freshman year.

Roberts said that should help make this a smoother transition.

“He can tell them what to expect about me. He’s been through my workouts and stuff, so he knows what to expect,” Roberts said.

When talking about the workouts, Roberts said stressed the importance of it.

“That’s what’s going to make you a winner,” Roberts said.

Roberts said he got his workout regimen from a friend of his and former college teammate, James Folston, who played in the NFL and played with Roberts in college.

“His kids have actually been doing the workout from junior high on up and every one has signed a scholarship (in different sports),” Roberts said. “His son (Tarean) starts at tailback for Notre Dame (ran for 889 yards, six TDs this season). I’ve seen what the workout can do for the kids. I did it with the kids at Chalmette the latter part of the year I was there for track. It’s a good workout. It’s going to help them tremendously with speed development, explosiveness and strength.”

Roberts comes over from Pearl River High School where he spent this season as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Rebels coach Paul Beebe said Roberts has a great knowledge of football.

“He is a hard worker. He brings a lot of innovative ideas. I think he’s a great hire for Bogalusa,” Beebe said.

Beebe added that Roberts is very organized.

“He’s got a great knowledge of football, so he’ll be able to help their offense. They’ll also be good defensively since he’s coached on that side of the ball too,” Beebe said. “He’s a great motivator. The kids are going to really like him and they’ll respond well to him.”

This season, Pearl River went 0-10 after playing a tough schedule.

Of the nine LHSAA teams the Rebels played, eight reached the playoffs, five finished at or above .500 in the regular season and five won at least one playoff game.

Bogalusa High School lead principal Eric Greely said Roberts is energetic and connected to the football world, which can benefit BHS’ program. He said Roberts believes that players must be leaders on campus and that academics are more important than athletics.

“He believes in developing a football program starting with middle school students,” Greely said. “We truly have an advantage to introduce middle school students to the importance of committing to working out (weights) and dedication to teammates.”

One of Roberts’ assistants will be 1982 Bogalusa High School graduate Bruce Plummer, who is a former NFL player, and former NFL and CFL scout.

“I’m excited about having Bruce,” Roberts said. “You can’t go wrong when you get an NFL guy on your staff. He’s really going to help out a lot. He does a lot for the kids in the community with his camp. I met him. He’s a nice guy. He’s a good guy, and I know he has plenty of knowledge from playing in the highest level there is. I look forward to working with Bruce.”

Roberts, who is from Monroe, has been coaching football since 1999, all as an assistant. He has coached both sides of the ball.

The 1992 Ouachita Parish High School graduate began as a graduate assistant at the University of South Carolina in 1999 where he assisted the slot receivers’ coach. While in that position, Roberts also verified transcripts and checked eligibility qualifications, assessed potential student athlete football ability, organized and presented recruitment tapes to coaches and communicated with high school and junior college coaches to arrange recruitment trips.

From 2000-03, the 1998 University of Louisiana at Monroe graduate, was the defensive and special teams coordinator for Pensacola Catholic High School in Florida.

He was also the freshman team’s basketball coach and assisted with the varsity squad.

After that, Roberts went to Newberry College until 2005 to be an assistant football coach. His duties included coaching linebackers and running backs while also managing the weight room.

Beginning in 2006, Roberts went to Chalmette High School until 2013 and was the defensive backs/wide receivers’ coach. He also managed strength and conditioning in football and coached shot put and discus in track.

After leaving Chalmette, Roberts moved to Tift County High School in Georgia for the 2013-14 school year where he coached freshman football, assisted varsity football and coached varsity track.

Roberts’ father, David Roberts Sr., is a former coach. His father was the head coach at Northeast Louisiana, now ULM, Baylor and Western Kentucky. He was also the offensive coordinator at Notre Dame an assistant at Vanderbilt and South Carolina. Bogalusa is looking to improve after having back-to-back 4-7 seasons, which ended with losses in the first round of the playoffs.