Biloxi High School’s search to find a new football coach didn’t have to go very far and it landed the son of a legend in the profession.
Following a vote by the Biloxi School Board, the school district announced Tuesday night that defensive coordinator Katlan French has been elevated to head coach.
The 30-year-old French served in the role of defensive coordinator under former head coach Bobby Hall the last three seasons.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” French said Tuesday night. “I’m just anxious. The biggest thing is I just want to get going.”
Following Tuesday night’s announcement, French was on the receiving end of congratulations from friends and family.
Former Biloxi coach Bobby Hall was among those who wanted to wish French well.
“Congratulations to Katlan. I’m proud of him,” Hall told the Sun Herald Tuesday night.
Hall stepped down as the Biloxi head coach in February after three seasons on the job following a disagreement with the school district over his contract. The Hall of Fame coach was 12-22 during his time at the school.
French, a former Delta State player and a graduate of the Division II school, knew he wanted to put in for the top position once Hall decided to resign.
“We wanted Coach Hall to coach as long as he could,” French said. “When he stepped down, I knew I was going to apply for it. I applied, went through the process and here I am.”
This will be French’s second stop as a head coach after serving in that capacity for one season at Kirk Academy. He was a member of Hall’s staff at Madison Central before he landed in Biloxi.
French also served on the football staffs at Eastern New Mexico University and Delta State.
With one year on the job at Kirk Academy and being the son of long-time high school head coach Jack French, he will be no stranger to the expectations of his new role.
Jack French is currently the head coach at Faith Academy in Mobile. He previously served as the head coach at Pearl, Forest, Itawamba AHS, Pelahatchie and Hillcrest Academy. His longest stint was a 14-year run at Forest, where he won three state championships. He also coached at Baker, Clarke County and Baldwin County in Alabama.
Hall and his father both played key roles in his development as a coach, French said.
“Coach Hall, he’s a Hall of Famer. He was a guy that coached with a lot of confidence,” French said. “The biggest thing was Coach Hall was always a good mentor for me. He’s a Hall of Famer like my dad was. He’s in the same class with my dad. I have tremendous respect for him.”
Katlan French also credited former Delta State and Southeastern Louisiana head coach Ron Roberts, Alabama co-defensive coordinator Pete Golding and former Eastern New Mexico coach Mark Ribaudo for helping him become a better football coach.
“We’re going to be a hard-working team,” Katlan French said. “We have good, hard working kids. I know them well. They know what my expectations are and that they’re going to work hard. We’re going to learn to do the little things right. That comes with controlling the things we can control, working hard.
“The team will play extremely hard and get after it every Friday night. We’ve got a good staff here, guys with a lot of knowledge. I expect big things from us, to be honest.”