The People's Tribune

Calhoun Selected To Lead Bulldogs Into The Future

The Louisiana Bulldogs football program is moving in a new direction with the recent decision to leave the Clarence Cannon Conference and Joe Calhoun was selected last week to lead the program as head coach.

Calhoun has spent the past three years assisting Greg Purdum and teaches high school social studies at Louisiana. The board finalized the decision last Tuesday.

Four candidates were interviewed by administrators. High School Principal Derrick Branstetter said Calhoun was the strongest candidate. He added that he’s excited to see where Calhoun will take the program.

“He has specific plans about how to turn the program around.”

Athletic Director Ryan Griffin added the school is excited for Calhoun to build more community involvement.

Calhoun noted he’s looking forward to getting started. One of the first things he plans to address is boosting the number of students involved in the program.

“We are going to have a commitment dinner on Feb. 5. We will have a meeting this week with all student athletes who are interested in playing,” Calhoun explained.

Students will be given invitations to take home.

“At the dinner I’m going to give a short presentation to inform parents and prospective players about the many benefits of being part of our football program. We are going to ask kids to commit to being part of the program and being part of the solution – sooner rather than later,” Calhoun remarked. “We have a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be, so we need to get started.”

Calhoun also plans to spearhead an effort to increase community involvement as well with the creation of The Touchdown Club.

“The TD Club allows our players to give back to the community by volunteering to help any local organizations that are in need of assistance,” he said, noting the importance of strengthening the bond between school and community.

“Whether it’s a family in need of assistance or a nursing facility that would like for us to come and help with an activity, we would like our football program to be of service.”

He noted that those activities benefit the community but benefit team members even more.

“ I believe it’s important for our kids to get as much out of their high school experience as possible. If we can provide an opportunity for our players to gain some perspective, mental toughness and at the same time create and maintain a bond with our own community, then it’s definitely something we need to do.”

With the exit from the Clarence Cannon Conference, the Bulldogs will play as an independent school for the next two years before joining the Eastern Missouri Conference when scheduling contracts expire.

“We will start EMO play in 2020. I know the move means an end to a lot of tradition, but I believe it makes all the sense in the world geographically,” Calhoun explained. “I also think it’s going to fuel some natural rivalries, two of which are right here in Pike County.”

Calhoun pointed out the schedule for the next two years includes two future EMO rivals in Mark Twain and Van-Far.

“So we will get a chance to get those rivalries kick-started ahead of time.”

Calhoun is the son of Rockne Calhoun who is in the Louisiana High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He graduated from Bowling Green High School in 1992 and played college football at Quincy University.

He has also taught and coached at Montgomery County (2003-2008) and Bowling Green (2008-2015).

“Whether as a player or coach, I’ve been a part of some very successful football teams and I’m determined to help make the Louisiana Bulldogs a winner again!”

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