Cedar Creek Athletics Director and Head Football Coach Matt Middleton told the Lincoln Parish Journal today that he is leaving the program to take the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach job at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas.
“Probably one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had,” said Middleton, who informed his Creek players Sunday night. “That’s not a joke and this is season No. 21 that I just finished. I think the toughest part is how close I am to a lot of people at Cedar Creek, starting with the kids. It’s probably one of the closer-knit groups I’ve been around. And leaving what I consider a loaded team. I think they could possibly play for a Division IV championship next year. I still think they have a great opportunity.”
Middleton did confirm that his son Caden Middleton, who was Cedar Creek’s starting quarterback and a member of the LPJ All-Parish team, will be staying to finish out his high school career with the Cougars.
“He loves (Cedar Creek),” said Middleton. “And as parents we love it.”
Middleton was introduced as the head coach at the local Class A school in early April of 2021, following a four-year stint at West Ouachita High School.
The West Monroe native had an immediate impact on the program, leading the Cougars to a 6-3 record in the regular season, which included a historic win over Oak Grove and near misses against OCS, Jonesboro Hodge and St. Frederick.
Middleton led the Cougars into the Division IV playoffs as the No. 16 seed where they fell to eventual state runner-up OCS in the first round.
This won’t be Middleton’s first stint at the collegiate level. He spent one year as a graduate assistant at Louisiana Tech in 2002 before serving as the wide receivers coach at Grand Valley State in Michigan in 2004. He was the offensive coordinator for two different stints at Arkansas-Monticello in 2007-08 and again in 2011 through 2013.
Middleton was also the offensive coordinator for former Tech assistant coach Clint Conque at Central Arkansas in 2009 and 2010.
He said ultimately the decision came down to wanting to get back into collegiate coaching.
“I have been fighting it for years,” said Middleton. “I got out to coach my sons. I fell in love with the lifestyle. This just kind of happened. It’s a call I got. It just kind of happened. You never know if this opportunity will come around again. Getting a chance to work for Brad Smiley had a lot to do with it, and the success that he has had and the places he has been.”
Middleton was named the District 2-1A Coach of the Year and the Lincoln Parish Journal All-Parish Team Coach of the Year. He won Coach of the Year honors in 2015 and 2016 at Prairie View Academy.
“It was tough because of the emotions involved with my son and that football team and many of the people I’ve come close with over time,” said Middleton. “I am looking forward to it. It’s my prayer and hope that Cedar Creek gets a great coach and they go 14-0 and win a Division IV state championship.”