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Faircloth returning as Vidalia head coach
from The Concordia Sentinel
March 21, 2017 -

(Concordia Sentinel) — Dalton "Dee" Faircloth is back as head coach at Vidalia High School.

Faircloth is replacing Jeff Hancock, who recently accepted an assistant coaching job at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas.

"I'm excited to be back as head coach," Faircloth said. "This is something I did for 42 years."

"Coach Faircloth has been in the trenches," said Vidalia assistant principal Bernie Cooley, who served on the selectiont board. "He had the best interview of anyone by far. He came into the interview session very humble, but there was a fire in his eyes. When we told the players, they were ecstatic. We're excited to have him back as head coach."

Faircloth resigned after the 2009 season after undergoing chemotherapy for prostrate cancer.

Faircloth's cancer has been in remission, and he has spent the past three years on the sidelines as an assistant coach.

Faircloth left Vidalia with an impressive record of 249-187-6, which ranks No. 22 among Louisiana high school football coaches. In 2014, Faircloth was inducted into the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/Louisiana High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Faircloth said he will bring back some of the old traditions, such as the white and blue jerseys and the old Viking logo with the Viking horn.

"Jeff asked me about changing some of those things, and I told him this was his baby and I wasn't going to tell him what to do," Faircloth said. "Jeff did a fine job. I would follow him anywhere. He did a good job bringing the kids back. But it's a different ballgame now."

Faircloth said he currently has 66 players out for football. The Vikings are moving down from Class 3A to Class 2A the next two seasons.

Hancock went 5-25 the past three seasons at Vidalia.

Former Viking head coach Gary Paul Parnham, who is now an assistant football and assistant softball coach at Ouachita Parish High School in Monroe, went 5-35 over four years.

The Vikings have not made it to the playoffs since 2004.

"My last year we had seven or eight freshmen on defense," Faircloth said. "And a lot of those years if we had won our last game we would have made the playoffs."

Faircloth returns several starters from last year's team.

"It's a plus that I have been working with these players the past three years," Faircloth said. "We're working with the weights right now. They know what's going on, and I know what they can do. I'm not going into it blind."

Faircloth said Vidalia assistant coach Mike Norris will run the offense, while assistant coach Rob Faircloth will run the defense.

"We're still going to run some spread offense, but we'll add some power-I to it, too," he said. "The main thing is to get pride back in the program."

"Dee was my guy all along," Norris said. "His coaching style never goes out of style. He is building, and making this team the best team it can possibly be. He knows what it takes to win games and develop young men into adults."

Faircloth is also looking to revamp Vidalia High's junior varsity program.

"I told the kids if we have to go to Kansas, we're going to play some JV games," he joked.

Faircloth said the junior high program is also important, and that VJH head coach Henry Garner does a great job with that program.

"We'll have him helping with the varsity, as well," Faircloth said.

Faircloth said this year's schedule will not be as tough as past schedules, even back to when he coached.

"For years we would play eight or nine playoff teams because nobody else would play us," Faircloth said. "We've still got tough games, but we won't see Sterlington, Ouachita Christian, Marksville, Jena and teams like that we have played or would have been in our new district."

Faircloth was named head football coach at Vidalia High School on June 5, 1969.

Faircloth served one year as an assistant coach at Vidalia under Don Alonzo, who resigned and accepted a head football coaching position at St. Aloysius in Vicksburg, Ms.

"I loved Coach Alonzo," Faircloth said. "I would have stayed his assistant coach for years."

Faircloth actually was given the job as boys basketball coach when Carmon Walker went to Block High in Jonesville.

"I was coaching football, boys basketball and track that first year," Faircloth said.

Faircloth, with the support of principal Walter Stampley, was named head football coach. He gave up the boys basketball job the following year.

"I had been a graduate assistant for three years at Northeast (Louisiana) and had spent one year under Coach Alonzo, so I thought I had all the answers," Faircloth joked.

Faircloth, who graduated from Mangham High and received a football scholarship to Louisiana-Monroe, was forced to give up football at ULM after a third concussion his sophomore year.

Faircloth introduced the Cockeyed T offense and the Red Ant defense to Vidalia when he took over as head football coach in 1969.

Faircloth copied the Red Ant defense from when his college coach, Dixie White at NLU.

"A player has to be able to put a big sting on the opposition to become a Red Ant," Faircloth said before his first-ever game. "Like those big Texas red ants that sting like a wasp. We're going to bring the swagger back on defense."

Faircloth credits his father, Dalton G. Faircloth, who has the stadium at DeQuincy High named after him, and White for his success in coaching.

"I learned a lot under Coach White," Faircloth said. "I also got to do some student teaching at Neville High and I was supervised by Bill Ruple and other coaches were Charlie Brown, Chick Childress and Benny Hollis. They taught me so much not only about coaching, but how to treat people, and to do things not so much by X's and O's, but how to get players to the next level."

Vidalia defeated Winnsboro 7-0 in Faircloth's first game as head coach.

The following week, in Vidalia's home opener, the Vikings dominated Buckeye 42-12, amassing 399 yards of offense. The Vikings were ranked No. 3 in their classification.

"I was thinking, boy this is easy," Faircloth said. "Then I woke up in the real world. Coach Alonzo had left us a heckuva schedule and then we had 17 our 22 regular players suffer injuries."

The Vikings finished the season 2-8, losing their next eight, including a season-ending 44-18 loss to Ferriday in which Donald Fulford rushed for 222 yards and scored 44 points.

Vidalia went 4-4-2 in Faircloth's second year in its first year in Class AA.

Faircloth led Vidalia to the playoffs in 1971 as the Vikings finished the regular season at 8-2, 7-2 in district to finish tied for second place.

The Vikings drew double-A power Haynesville in the first round of the playoffs.

The Tornado, behind legendary coach Red Franklin, defeated the Vikings 23-0.

Faircloth's 1973 team lost to St. Louis in the 2A quarterfinals, but not before compling a scoreless streak of 37 straight without giving up a point.

Nine of its 10 wins were shutouts, with only 3A Ponchatula defeating the Vikings by a 14-0 score.

The 14 points allowed broke the previous record of 21 allowed in 1962.

The Viking defense allowed only 48.8 yards rushing during the regular season and 26.1 through the air.

Faircloth claimed his first victory over Ferriday in 1977, defeating the Trojans 26-6.

Ferriday was coached by Fred Marsalis, who served as an assistant coach to Faircloth before 1977 and in later years.

Vidalia won the next year, 21-0, one of the very few times Vidalia has posted two straight wins over Ferriday.

Faircloth led Vidalia to two straight undefeated seasons in 2002 and '03.

The 2002 unbeaten regular season was the first for a Vidalia team since 1961.

In 2003, the Vikings advanced to the Class 2A semifinals, falling to eventual state champion West St. John.

Faircloth's teams earned 10 district championships, made the state football playoffs 21 times and played in the 1985 River City Bowl.

But there is no particular game or season that stands above another for Faircloth.

"My fondest memories are of seeing the faces of the kids when we won a ballgame," he said. "Watching them when they accomplished an individual goal, such as in the weight room, was also priceless."

During his time at Vidalia High,it is estimated Faircloth coached more than 3,000 students at the school during his long and illustrious career.

"It's all about the kids," he said.

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