By Jim Pickens Messenger-Inquirer | Posted: Monday, March 2, 2015 12:00 am
Fallin, 28, who has served as an OHS assistant coach for the past five seasons, was named to succeed Joe Prince as the program’s head coach on Sunday afternoon during a packed press conference in the Gerald Poynter Field House adjacent to Rash Stadium on the OHS campus.
“It’s a tremendous honor to follow coach Prince as head football coach at Owensboro High School,” said Fallin, a 2005 Hancock County High School graduate and a 2010 Kentucky Wesleyan College graduate. “We will keep doing a lot of the things we’ve been doing around here. We will work very hard, and we will always be prepared to do things the right way.
“This program has already moved in the right direction, and we would love to get over that proverbial hump and win the big game (state championship). But character is the biggest thing in terms of the heart of this program. Coach Prince is a man of great integrity, and he always did the right things. We will continue to do the right things.”
Chris Gaddis, Owensboro Public Schools district athletic director, is confident that the Red Devils have found the right individual to lead the Red Devils upward and onward.
“When you have a program that’s not broken, you’re not looking for a repairman to fix it,” said Gaddis, who indicated the school’s search committee conducted multiple interviews seeking a replacement for Prince. “You’re looking for someone who understands and appreciates the program, someone who understands and appreciates the tradition, someone who will keep this program moving forward — we believe Jay will do an outstanding job in carrying this out.”
Fallin, who teaches social studies at OHS, recognizes the enormity of the responsibility he is undertaking.
“This program is second to none in the state of Kentucky in a lot of ways, and this coaching staff is certainly second to none” he said. “Owensboro High School traditionally has had great players, great coaches, great tradition, great facilities and great support, and that’s what makes it the special place it is. People care deeply about this program, and this is the type of place you want to be at as a coach.”
Fallin said the Red Devils’ offensive, defensive and special teams schemes and philosophies will be based on player personnel.
“It could change from year to year, depending on the players we have,” he said. “We’ll always have systems in place that give our teams the best chance to win football games.”
The OHS football coaching staff is expected to remain generally intact, which should enhance the continuity and efficiency of a program that has had only eight head coaches in the last 65 years.
“Our assistant coaches,” Gaddis emphasized, “have played a major role in our success.”
During his years as player, Fallin, a Lewisport native, was a lineman at Hancock County High School under head coach Brock Shoulders, and later was a lineman at KWC under head coach Brent Holsclaw.
Last fall, in what proved to the final season of Prince’s 12-year run, Owensboro won district and regional championships on the way to a 12-3 record and a runner-up showing in the KHSAA Class 4-A state championship game — dropping a heartbreaking 49-42 decision to perennial power Highlands in the title game at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.
Prince, who led the Red Devils to the Class 4-A semifinals in 2013, resigned as OHS head coach in January to accept the head coach post at Fauquier High School in Warrenton, Virginia.
Now, it’s Fallin’s turn to try to get the Red Devils to the promised land, as OHS football seeks its first state championship since 1986.
“I’m excited and thankful for this great opportunity — it’s an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “I never would have dreamed when I graduated from college five years ago that something like this could happen.”
Fallin appears ready for the challenge of maintaining the school’s ‘Tradition of Excellence’ motto.
“This football program has had a winning tradition for over a hundred years,” he said, “and we expect to continue that tradition of success in the years to come.”
Jim Pickens, (270) 691-7314,