FHS coach Smith accepts job at SLU

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Franklinton football coach Shane Smith has accepted a coaching job at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

He officially begins at SLU on May 2.

“When I came and visited, it just felt right,” Smith said. “There have been times that I’ve been here in a different frame of mind, but the frame of mind I was in this time when I came, I just saw it as an opportunity.”

Smith, a 1996 SLU graduate, said he feels like there are a lot of resources at SLU.

“It’s a successful football team obviously and I think there’s a lot that I bring to what they already have going and I just look forward to it,” Smith said.

Southeastern has gone 24-14 in the last three years and has reached the playoffs twice and captured two Southland Conference Championships. The postseason and conference titles were in 2013 and 2014.

Smith said one of his focuses on the SLU staff will be coaching wide receivers.

He said he’s tremendously excited about the opportunity.

“I’m leaving such a great place and Franklinton is always going to be a part of me,” he said. “It’s my home. I still live there, but this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up — successful college football program, just an opportunity to move around maybe in this area.

“I know the high school coaches in this part of the state. I hope to be an asset to them because of that and I hope to be an asset to Southeastern because I know most of the guys on a first-name basis. Hopefully the coaches will be confortable with being honest with me about the athletes they have.”

Smith, a 1989 Franklinton High School graduate, had a successful run as the Demons’ head coach. Smith, who has been in coaching for the last 21 years, won nearly 70 percent of his games as the head coach of Franklinton (142-62, 69.6 winning percentage). The team missed the playoffs just once in 17 years.

Under Smith, Franklinton went to the finals twice (2009 and 2010) and captured the 2010 state title.

They also played in the semifinals four times with the other two years being the last two seasons.

Smith said his time at Franklinton was life-changing.

“I will forever be indebted to the community of Franklinton, the school board, the school system and the leadership in the central office and at Franklinton High School,” Smith said. “Without the opportunity they offered me some 17 years ago, I wouldn’t be here. You talk about all of the assistant coaches and the job that they do and how good they are. The players. I could go on-and-on-and-on.

“My son (Jacob) plays there and he’ll play there next year, so I’ll still be around Franklinton when the opportunity presents itself as far as Friday nights, but I’m excited. I’m excited about this opportunity. Franklinton, I could go on-and-on. It’s a great community and a great school. I think there’s a wealth of potential there with the football program and all of the athletic programs.”

Franklinton principal Lisa Tanner had nothing but praise for Smith.

“He is a great football coach, motivator and mentor,” she said. “He is an expert in the game of football and coaching. That is his passion. He is going to do great at the next level.

“He is a huge part of our football’s success and he’ll tell you that a big part of that is because of his assistant coaches. He has been an asset to our school, community and our kids. It’s going to be different, but I can assure everyone that the decisions that are made for the future of our school will be in the best interest of our school and our kids.”