By T. Scott Boatright
Cedar Creek announced on Thursday a flurry of changes to its athletics department heading into the 2021-22 school year.
Matt Middleton, who had been serving as head football coach at West Ouachita, has taken over as head football coach for the Cougars while former head coach Shannon Brown will become assistant principal/athletics director for the school beginning next fall.
Middleton took over the West Ouachita program in 2017 after a two-year stint as head coach at Prairie View High School in Bastrop.
The 1997 graduate of West Monroe High School served as a graduate assistant for Louisiana Tech football in 2002.
After graduating college Middleton served as assistant head and JV coach at Evangel Christian Academy (2003-04), head coach and athletics director at Caldwell Parish High School (2005-06), head coach and AD at CENLA Christian School (2007), University of Central Arkansas offensive coordinator (2009-10), University of Arkansas at Monticello assistant head coach/offensive coordinator (2008 and 2011-13) and as head coach at Prairie View (2014-16.)
His first head coaching opportunity came in 2015, when he was hired by Prairie View Academy, before taking the Chiefs gig in 2017.
West Ouachita went 14-22 in the four seasons Middleton was there, going 3-3 in a COVID-shortened season last year, closing out with a 21-17 victory over Benton in the first-ever Louisiana Army National Guard Bowl Game in December.
In addition to his impressive coaching resume, Coach Middleton has worked in numerous camps and clinics at universities across the country with many high school and college coaching professionals,” said Cedar Creek head of school Andy Yepson in an emailed announcement sent out on Thursday morning. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Cedar Creek, and I look forward to his working with our coaches and players to continue to move our football team and our school forward.
“Matt is married to Kayla Temple Middleton and has three sons. Luke is currently serving our country in the military. Caden, a sophomore, will be transferring with his father to Cedar Creek. Kash is in Pre-K and is also a future Cougar.”
Yepson also addressed Brown’s future in that email.
“Coach Brown has been a huge asset to the Cedar Creek family for the past nine years,” Yepson said. “In his time at Cedar Creek, he has been involved in junior high sports, baseball, softball, and has been the head football coach for the past three years. Coach Brown’s knowledge of all sports has been invaluable during his time at Cedar Creek, and we are looking forward to his leadership in this new role. In addition to guiding all of our athletic programs, Coach Brown will assist with numerous administrative tasks within the school.”
Current Cedar Creek athletics director/head baseball coach Ben Haddox will remain in those positions for the rest of this school year but that he is unsure of what Haddox will decide to do after that.
Haddox cleared that situation up during a phone interview with the Journal.
“That’s something we don’t know,” Haddox said. “We’re going to continue to evaluate. I bought National Jewelry. (Former National Jewelry owners) Tommy and Kenny Phillips are family friends and we had been talking about it for nearly two years now. I go there every morning and I’m on campus by noon or 1 o’clock and fulfil my duties as Dean of Students and athletic director and head baseball coach.
“What we’ll do is sit down at the end of the year and just what kind of role I can stay involved in here.”
As a Cedar Creek graduate himself, Haddox admits the decision will be tough whatever it is.
“Cedar Creek has been my life for the last 16 years,” Haddox said. “My three kids are still here, so I’m not going anywhere. I want to stay involved. Now is that me as head baseball coach? Is it as an assistant coach helping somebody? Is it helping Andy in some role? We don’t know. I think anything and everything is on the table. I think we are mutually agreed that I want to stay involved and they want to keep me involved. What that will look like I just don’t know yet.”
Both Yepson and Haddox said that as of now no other changes have been planned for the Cedar Creek football staff.
“That could change of course, but as of right now everything remains intact and I don’t expect any kind of big turnover or anything like that,” Haddox said.