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Katlan French
 
By CHUCK HATHCOCK
Sports Editor

  Katlan French knew only one way to play the game of football, that was all out with hard effort in practice and in the game. Being one of the smaller players (5-9, 168) made his effort have to be at its maximum each and every day.
  That maximum effort is something that French will expect from his players this season as he was hired late last week to coach football this season at Kirk Academy. French replaces Rick Johnston.
  “I’m excited about the opportunity that the board has given me to be the head coach at Kirk Academy,” French said. “I’ll be hitting the ground running organizing workouts for our players for the remainder of the summer heading into fall camp.”
  French is excited about the commitment that has been shown, not only to football, but to all athletics at Kirk Academy.
  “Everybody in the Kirk family is on board wanting to win,” French said. “We have a new athletic director, who is a winner and wants to win. I’m looking forward to working with our young people and seeing them grow to be better people.”
  President Brent Thomas is excited to have French on board as coach.
  “We are excited to have a football coach in place,” Thomas said. “Katlan is a good, young, excitable  coach. We feel like he will get our guys excited about playing. He comes from a football background and we are happy to have him in the Kirk Academy family.”
  Spencer Segrest, who was recently hired as boys’ basketball coach and athletic director said that French brings a solid background to the table.
  “Katlan French is very knowledgeable about the game of football,” Segrest said. “He has worked at the collegiate level and is a very hard and productive. We are excited to have him at Kirk Academy.”
Family background
  For people that followed high school football, they may or may not know that French’s dad, Jack, was a longtime coach in both the Mississippi High School Activities Association and the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools.
  Having been brought up in a football home, the 24-year old saw himself doing nothing but football.
  “I grew up in a home that loves football,” French said. “My mother probably knows more football than most men do. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else than coaching football.”
  French got to be around his father during his career and saw what it took to be a successful coach.
  “There’s more to coaching than coaching,” French said. “You have to be able to cut the grass, clean the locker rooms. It’s a hard working job.”
  French said that his father never discouraged him from becoming a coach.
  “They probably didn’t want me in a coaching life,” French said. “My family has been supportive of me I’ve been around football all my life. When I saw that I wasn’t going to be able to play it all my life, I wanted to coach. I can’t see myself doing anything other than football.”
Playing career
  French completed his high school playing career at Starkville Academy. From there, he moved to East Central Community College in Decatur. He played wide receiver for the Warriors.
Following his two years there, French moved on to Delta State University. He was moved to defensive back for the Statesmen.
Coaching
  French started his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Eastern Mexico University. He worked with the wide receivers for one season.
  French moved back to Mississippi, coaching at Delta State University. He coached the defensive backs. The Statesmen finished as a National Semifinalist and won the Gulf South Conference. The defensive backfield led the conference in interceptions with 11.
Players
  In his short career, French has always considered himself a players’ coach.
  “My players have always been first to me,” French said. “Throughout my college coaching, I’ve told them that they could talk to me at anytime. They will know that I’m a coach that cares.”
Relentless
  French wants his players to play much the way he did throughout his career.
  “I want our guys to play relentless,” French said. “We need to do that no matter who we play.   Our guys need to be committed to doing what it takes to win.”
  The emphasis for his new team will be getting ready for fall practice.
  “We want to use the rest of the summer to get bigger, stronger, and faster,” French said. “During this time, we will be working to see what kind of offense and defense best suits our personnel. In high school, you have to change with your personnel.”
  Kirk starts practice July 30. The Raiders open the season at home Aug. 17 against West Memphis.


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