Jack is back!
Former Baker coach Jack French was announced Tuesday as the new head football coach at Faith Academy. French retired from coaching three years ago and did not intend to return to the profession. He spent the last two years working as a field representative for Coaches Outreach, a ministry that organizes Bible studies for coaching staffs.
“Danny Smith (Baker coach and French’s former defensive coordinator) is here, and he can testify that this old boy didn’t intend to ever step on the football field again after I left in 2015,” French said. “You would think as old as I am I would have learned never to say never.” French said he missed that platform he had to make a difference. “I knew God would have another platform for me. I just figured it would be something with my church. But I can’t count the number of times I’ve been wrong on assumptions. God opened a door here at Faith, and I’m real excited about it.”
French, 64, had coached for 40 years when he retired. He had come to Alabama from Mississippi, where he had won 258 games and 4 state championships. French coached at Baldwin County, Clarke County and Baker. His Baker teams went 27-15 with a pair of playoff appearances. He didn’t have a losing record in four years with the Hornets. Prior to his arrival, Baker had 21 straight losing seasons under seven different head coaches.
French takes over a Faith Academy team that went 3-7 this past season under interim coach Jeff Estes, who took over for Lane Lawley last summer after Lawley resigned due to health reasons. Estes will stay on at Faith as assistant head coach, the school announced. Counting Estes, French is the sixth head coach in the team’s 10 years of AHSAA play.
“It’s pretty much the exact situation I walked into at Baker,” French said. “All I can tell you — the shortest answer I can give — is I’m doing to do it much like we did at Baker. If it worked there, it can work again. There obviously will be some adjustments based on players and staff, but we’ll get it done here too.”
New Faith Academy coach Jack French, left, stands with his former defensive coordinator and current Baker head coach Danny Smith after Tuesday’s press conference.(Ben Thomas | firstname.lastname@example.org)