Evans takes over as Tallulah Academy football coach

Published 12:29 pm Friday, May 7, 2010

TALLULAH — Nick Evans really wanted to be a head football coach.

So bad in fact, that in early 2008, he went to Norway to coach Norwegians in American football — not soccer. Two years later, Evans has left an assistant’s position at a Class 4A school in Arkansas to take the vacant head coaching job at Tallulah Academy. On Thursday, Evans met with the Trojans.

Meeting a new coach is nothing new to the Trojans.

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“I think you’re No. 10 (football coach) since I’ve been at this school,” rising Trojan senior Cody Landrem said jokingly. “Before these last two years, we were pretty horrible. We even had a coach leave us right after spring practice. Just left a note on the desk, ‘I’m gone.’”

For the record, the Trojans have been pretty good since Landrem moved up to the varsity. They went 7-5 in 2008 and made the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools playoffs.

They went 7-5 in 2009 and made the playoffs again.

Coaches, however, remain a revolving door.

Doug Branning left after the 2008 season to take the headmaster’s position at Porters Chapel Academy.

John Weaver, who was on Branning’s staff in 2008, was promoted to the head coaching slot in 2009 and led the Trojans back to the playoffs. When Bill Fleming stepped down last month after one year at PCA, Weaver was hired by his former boss as Fleming’s replacement.

So Tallulah had another opening for a head football coach. Evans answered the call.

“I wanted to be a head coach and I got on the MAIS website and I saw a few listed. I came down for an interview and, a week later, they gave me the job. I’m real excited about being here. This is my first head coaching job at the high school level. I guess you can say I wanted to come somewhere and put my stamp on something,” Evans said.

Evans grew up in both Ohio and Arkansas. He played varsity football at Clyde High School in Ohio and then went on to play at the University of Findlay in Ohio. He later went back to Arkansas and graduated from Henderson State University.

After a couple of assistant coaching stints in Ohio, Evans saw a posting for American football coaches to come to Europe and coach club football. He jumped on it and landed the head coaching job for the Eidsvold 1814s of Eidsvold, Norway.

“I was the only the coach. It was basically semi-pro. They were all grown men, some were even in their 40s. There were four American players and they basically doubled as my position coaches. It was an established team and they play in the European Football League. We played games in Italy and Denmark and did well. I think we were 9-1 and finished eighth overall out of 60 teams in the European League. Because of that, I got this medal from the Prince of Norway,” Evans said.

Evans returned to the United States in the fall of 2008 to coach at St. Mary Catholic in Sandusky, Ohio. A year later, he landed an assistant job at Ashdown High School in Ashdown, Ark.

“I was the special teams coordinator and defensive line coach at Ashdown,” Evans said.

Ashdown was one of the top teams in 2009 in Class 4A in Arkansas, going 10-2, and making it to the quarterfinal round. At his various stops, Evans said he has learned different types of formations on both sides of the ball.

“I guess you can say we will be multiple on offense. In Norway, we ran the pistol. At Ashdown, we were a spread team. When I was in college, we ran an unbalanced line wishbone,” he said. “But here, I’ll just have to take a look and see what we have.”

Landrem said Evans should have at least 20 players available.

“We should have a pretty stout line, even though we did lose Tandon (Baker). We also have to replace Jes (Shivers) our quarterback and J.R. (Fortenberry).” Landrem said.

“Still, we should already be in the playoffs. Briarfield went to 8-man football and they closed Huntington, so that leaves just two teams in the district,” Landrem said.

Then there is the matter of the season opener against Porters Chapel.

“I’m already looking forward to it. He (Weaver) got a lot of praise at our banquet, and I just bit my tongue. We’ll see him this fall,” Landrem said.