By Kyle Roberts
After being formally released from his contract with Ouachita Parish Schools, former West Monroe and Ouachita head coach Todd Garvin has officially returned to the Ruston sideline and will be traveling with the Bearcats to Cabot, Ark., Friday night.
“The school administration and (Lincoln Parish School Board superintendent) Ricky Durrett have been so welcoming,” Garvin said. “I go back on the experience I had a few years ago here, and everyone was so welcoming and inviting the first time I came to Lincoln Parish. So I have a lot of positive memories and a lot of positive experiences.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to be back and serve here in Lincoln Parish.”
Ruston High principal Dan Gressett confirmed the hire Thursday morning.
“He’s a really good math teacher and a really good football coach,” Gressett said Thursday. “We have hired him and it is official today.”
Garvin had previously served on staff at Ruston High and lauded the consistency and culture that the Bearcats have become known for.
“Just being around today, you don’t see a whole lot of changes because things are done the right way,” Garvin said. “There’s a few small, subtle changes as far as the practice plan or how the weekly plan goes.
“But as far as the program, there are a lot of similarities, and that’s a testament of how good of a job (Ruston High head football coach Jerrod) Baugh has done with this program and the direction Ruston football is headed.”
Garvin was relieved from duties as head coach of West Monroe on Sept. 11 after being placed on administrative leave following a string of football players requiring medical attention, which some online attributed to intense workouts during some of the hottest days of the year in the last month.
Garvin’s public response has been maintaining that all practices were within the guidelines of the LHSAA.
Despite the relieving of duties as head coach of West Monroe, Gressett echoed that there were no concerns hiring Garvin, citing the previous stint of Garvin teaching and coaching at Ruston in the past.
“I know him personally, and we have no concerns,” Gressett said.
Ruston head coach Jerrod Baugh echoed Gressett’s comments about Garvin rejoining the school.
“I have known Todd for over 25 years,” Baugh said. “I think he’ll be a great addition to the football staff and the school. He’s going to come back and do some things for the school that he had done before, and I think they were pleased with him then. I know he’s looking forward to moving on to the next step and I’m happy that he’s here.”
Garvin is projected to coach tight ends and h-backs and was able to address the team on Thursday.
“I told the guys to block out the noise,” Garvin said. “Keep the main thing the main thing, and that’s becoming better athletes and better citizens while winning football games. There’s going to be negative attention with it, and we have got to do a good job of blocking that noise out.”