Interview with David Franklin
by Reid Althage
LAFM: How many years have you been coaching? How many years have you been at Haynesville High School?
I started off at Haynesville in junior high in 1993. I have been the head coach since 2002. I took over the team from my dad, Alton “Red” Franklin.
LAFM: What made you get into coaching?
My father is definitely part of the reason. I coached under him for multiple years and he had a big influence on me. I feel like this is the place where God wanted me. Haynesville gives me a chance to make an impact on young men’s lives.
LAFM: Have any coaches had an influence on how you coach now?
Well, of course their was my dad. Tommy Reeder had an influence on me as well. He was an assistant here and was the Head Coach at Ruston for a while. Now he is retired. He had a great work ethic and great ability to coach the kids.
LAFM: Haynesville has a history of great football players. Can you talk about some of these guys and why they are so great?
We have been blessed to have some really good football players. We have had two guys who have made it to the NFL. From a small town of about 1500-2000 people, I would say that is pretty good. We have another couple who have made it in the CFL. Their is just some families in Haynesville who have produced good football players and great kids. Some people wonder why we do not have more players sign when we are winning all these games. The truth of the matter is our guys are just good high school football players. They are not necessarily great D1 Athletes, but just really good high school football players who work hard and have a lot of heart.
LAFM: Do you think the brand of Louisiana football is different than anywhere else in the country?
Well, I have not seen many places or teams around the country. Judging by the number or athletes that make it to the next level, I think Louisiana Football is very strong. Also, it is not just in the upper classes but all the way from 1A to 5A. I thinkg Louisiana Football is comparable to anyone in the nation.
LAFM: What is your advice to Haynesville students in regards to the recruiting process?
If you take care of your business, usually good things will happen to you. It has to start with your grades, and that is where I think some kids fall off. They think it is all about how good you are as a football player. It does not matter how good a player may be if he does not take care of his grades. You know, if you work hard and God has blessed you with the ability to go to the next level then their is a great chance you will be at the next level.
LAFM: Can you name one of your favorite games at Haynesville High School? What made it special?
Well, anytime you are fortunate enough to win a state championship that has got to be one of your favorite games. I think the 09 game in the Super Dome when we beat South Plaquemines was a very good game. We had a game against Homer in 2008 where we threw 2 long passes with a few seconds left and won the game. That game was covered by ESPN and that was definitely exciting. Another one would be last year against West St. John in the semi-final where it was only a 1 point game. Honestly, their has just been so many favorite games. All are different and all have different kids. Each game is special in its own way.
LAFM: Do you think it is advantageous for football players to play other sports?
Definitely. Now it is different at a small school. Track is my 2nd sport and almost everyone on our track team plays football. Our baseball coach is an assistant on the football team, and he has about 15-17 guys who also play football. Our whole school is kind of like that. We have several kids who do 3 sports and even a few that do 4 sports. A lot of the athletes now think they are suppose to specialize in one sport. I never tell the kids that. If you are in high school and a good athlete, do what you can do and enjoy it. That is what it is all about.
LAFM: What makes Haynesville High School a great school, and what are you looking forward to with your football program next year?
I think that is simple. The school and football program is important to the people. It is a complete town effort. We actually had a renovation of our stadium this past summer which sums it up. We do not have much money in this parish, but we needed to raise about 100,000 dollars to complete this renovation. The community donated about 90,000 dollars. The support we get is just amazing. You can go online and see that we are listed as one of the top 20 schools in the nation for all-time wins. Our support has just been going on for years. It is important to the kids as well. They do not want to be that one class that does not succeed. It is just expected among the kids. They work hard at it and it is important to them. We have also been blessed with some really good players and that helps as well.