Interview with Head Coach Rodney Guin
By Reid Althage
LAFM: How many years have you been in coaching? When did you start at Haughton High School?
I have been at Haughton for my entire career which is about 31 years. I have been the head coach for the last 14 years. I started at the middle school here. A guy called me and asked me if I coached football. When I said yes, he hired me without even seeing me once. I have been here ever since.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching?
I was always involved with athletics. Coaching allows you to continue the feel of being in athletics even though you are not playing. I love being around the kids, and love athletics. Coaching just seemed like a natural deal for me.
LAFM: Any coaches in your past have a big influence on yourself?
I played in an all-star basketball game when I was in high school. Tommy Joe Eagles was our head coach. He ended up coaching at Auburn and Tech and some other places. I am telling you the guy treated us so well in that week. He treated us better than any coach had ever treated me before. It did not matter if you were from the smallest or the biggest school. He treated us all the same. That has kind of stuck with me throughout my career and is what I try to do with my kids. It does not matter who they are or what color they are. We treat them all the same and take care of them all the same. I have never forgot that one week with Eagles, and it has been a lasting impression on me for a long time.
LAFM: Who are some of the best players you have ever coached?
We had Myron Baker here who was a LB for us right when I got to Haughton. He ended up playing for Chicago and Carolina for a few years. I think he is now coaching in the Dallas area. Then their was Dak Prescott who is the current starter at Mississippi State. He was a phenomenal player for us also. We have had a bunch of good football players and are fortunate to have a few good ones every year. Still, those two probably stand out as the best since I have been here.
LAFM: What would you like to see changed in Louisiana High School football?
Nothing really. The football is so good in this state. We are one of the smallest 5A school which is a challenge when we play schools with 2500 kids and we have 1100. That is just how it is though. Our football is good, and we just need to continue what we are doing.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else?
It is better than most I would think. I think their are probably a couple states like Florida and Texas who may be all in all better than us. At the same time, I have seen the better teams in Louisiana go over to play some of the best teams in Texas. They compete right up their with them. Looking at teams such as Evangel, John Curtis, and West Monroe, it does not matter who they play. Those teams could compete with anybody. It is impressive considering how small our state is numbers wise. Louisiana is definitely one of the best football states in the country.
LAFM: What advice would you give young recruits on the recruiting process and how they approach it?
The first thing we tell our kids is that they have to take care of their grades. A lot of athletes will slack off their freshman and sophomore years until they realize they are good enough to play in college. Then they work for their grades, but it is an uphill battle. We are stressing to the young kids that they need to focus on their grades early in their high school career, so it is not a battle later on when they are juniors and seniors. We push our kids to know that they need to take care of their business here. Right now they are playing ball in high school. That has got to be the most important thing going on. If they are good enough to play, the recruiting will take care of itself. Every kid who has come through here and was good enough to play college ball has gone on to play college ball. We put their time here at high school first, and will worry about their college after that.
LAFM: Do you think it is essential for a H. S. coach to adapt to different kids, different philosophies, and the evolution of the game?
I think you have to do that. You know here we run the spread all the time, yet I can give you an example of how we change. When Prescott was here, we would through the ball 40-50 times a game out of the spread. Now we are still in the spread, but we have a guy who can really run. We now run it 40-50 times and throw it half of that. It is the same offense and same plays. You have to be able to change with the players you have. You cannot do certain things with certain kids. At Haughton, we have a philosophy of what we want to do. We just have to adapt it to whoever is playing for us.
LAFM: Who is your favorite NFL or college player of all time and why?
Growing up, I was a big Joe Ferguson fan. I was from Shreveport and had Buffalo Bill stuff all in my room. We grew up loving players like Joe Ferguson and Terry Bradshaw. They were from our area and that was important to us. I guess college wise I would have to say Bo Jackson. He was such a great athlete who worked and played hard. Still, the guys from our area like Ferguson and Bradshaw were who we looked up to.
LAFM: Who is your favorite college or pro football coach and why?
Stoops at Oklahoma. I love to watch them play. I have been to some clinics while he was their. He does thing kind of how we like to do things here. Kids seem to want to play for him. Bob Stoops is the guy I like the most. As far as pro coach, I am just not a big pro football fan. I do like the Saints I guess. If I had to pick someone I would say Sean Payton. He is a great coach. I am just not a big pro football fan to tell you the truth.
LAFM: What makes Haughton High School a great school and great football program?
It is a community based school. We are going to play next year with 120 kids in our program and every single one of them are Haughton kids. We have no kids out of our school district, no transfers, and nothing like that. Everyone who puts that jersey on is a Haughton kid from our community. A lot of their parents played here which is one of the reasons this place is such a great place to work. You know I am coaching kids whose dad’s dad coached or played here. It is a lot of fun. Football has always been a bid deal here and our kids have grown up in that culture. We have been fortunate enough to never been bad. I think we have made the playoffs 28 out of the last 30 years or something like that. They do not want to be the team that does not make it. We pride ourselves on that. I have to say we have great kids. They do what they are suppose to do and are very respectful. It is just a great place to live and coach.