Four years after receiving his first head-coaching opportunity, Reco Newton is once again at the helm of another program.
Newton was promoted to Loachapoka head football coach on Wednesday after spending the last two years as the team’s defensive coordinator. He replaces LC Cole, who resigned in April to take over at Park Crossing after posting an 8-11 record in two seasons.
“It feels good to be the head coach. It’s a great program full of tradition. I just feel like it’s a great opportunity for me to be here, and I’m looking forward to it,” Newton said. “I think (my familiarity with the team) will be a great deal of help. I’ve been here two years. I’ve got an understanding and relationships with the kids that are already here in the program. Also, I’m working on building up that relationship with the community. I’ve had an opportunity to meet some great people in the community and am looking forward to meeting many, many more.”
Newton came to Loachapoka prior to the 2018 season after spending two seasons as the head coach at Wilcox Central. He took over a Jaguars’ program that was riding a 20-game losing streak and ultimately led the squad to a 5-15 record.
Newton, who graduated from Valley in 1994, decided after his second season at Wilcox Central that he wanted to get closer to home. Loachapoka gave him the chance to do just that.
“I had an aunt here in the area, and she ended up passing of cancer. That was kind of my drawing that it was time to come back home. I had family members here that were getting older, so I always wanted to get back home,” Newton said. “I was looking for the opportunity to get back home, and I was blessed with that opportunity from Loachapoka High School to get back closer to home. I’m able to spend time with family and lead a great program.”
Newton got his start at Valley then spent eight years at Lanett coaching football and girls basketball. He was then an assistant for three years at Greenville before joining the staff at Blount for the 2015 season.
Newton’s experience and familiarity with Loachapoka’s players made him a natural hire, according to Loachapoka principal/athletic director Albert Weeden Jr.
“Coach Newton has experience as a head coach. He’s built relationships in the community. He’s been a head coach, and he’s learned from coach Cole,” Weeden said. “This is an opportunity with coach Cole moving on to another position for him to keep things going and kind of add things his way, which he calls the ‘Poka way.”
Newton takes over a Loachapoka program that just missed out on the Class 1A playoffs in 2019. The Indians went 4-6 thanks to four wins in their final six games, including consecutive victories over Talladega County Central and Verbena to close out the year.
Newton’s Indians will seek to reach the postseason for the first time in seven years this fall.
Newton said reaching out to the community is one of his major objectives, and he’s already begun making a push on social media to promote the program. Loachapoka is one of countless high schools who are playing the waiting game before they reconvene for summer practices, but once they’re allowed to do so Newton and his team will be ready to work.
“Right now I can just feel it in the air. I’m in here watching film literally right now. When you start watching film, you start getting in that Friday night mode,” Newton said. “I’m just very excited about the opportunity and ready to get that first game to get here whenever that time comes. We’re very excited about what we have to offer here at Loachapoka High School.”