After becoming the school’s permanent head football coach Walker High just over two months ago, Cecil Thomas is leaving the school.
Thomas, 49, accepted the head coaching position at Sulphur High School on Tuesday, another Class 5A school.
“I had to weigh the options,” said Thomas, who was voted the Livingston Parish Coach of the Year. “It’s been a tough decision. It’s never easy. We’ve got great kids at Walker and a great administration, but at the end of the day I felt it was something I couldn’t turn down.”
Thomas started the 2018 season as Walker’s offensive line coach/strength and conditioning coordinator. He was elevated to the team’s interim coach Sept. 11 when then head coach Lester Ricard resigned.
Thomas guided the Wildcats to an 8-3 overall record, a runners-up finish in District 4-5A and a No. 11 seed in the Class 5A state playoffs where they fell to Hahnville in the first round.
Before the start of the state playoffs, Thomas was named the program’s permanent head coach after the deft manner he exhibited in leading Walker to one of its best regular seasons in decades despite the early tumult.
Thomas said recently hired offensive coordinator Carmon Moore, a former long-time coach at Hammond High, will lead the day-to-day operations of the team until a replacement is named.
“I was very blessed to have the Walker situation,” Thomas said. “When I saw everything at Sulphur, obviously finances played a big part in it. It’s totally financial. I wasn’t disgruntled at Walker or anything like that.
“At the end of the day it was about being able to take care of my family and take care of them financially,” Thomas said. “There’s more resources at Sulphur to take care of my family the right way they need to be taken care of. That’s what it comes down to. I never got into football to be rich. But at the end of the day it’s nice to be able to have breathing room.”
Thomas replaces Jeff Wainwright, who stepped down Dec. 14 after serving as Sulphur’s head coach for six years. The Tors were 34-31 under Wainwright’s guidance, winning a share of back-to-back District 3-5A championships in 2016-17 and claiming the program’s first state playoff victory in a decade.
Thomas, a native of Hammond where he spent one year as head coach, was a three-year letterman at the University of Utah where he played offensive line. He remained in Salt Lake City to embark on a coaching career that’s snapped nearly two decades, leading Cottonwood High to a 31-7 record and a state runners-up finish.
He also served as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Utah as well on the staff at Weber State.
Thomas touted Sulphur’s facilities where the Tors play in a 10,000-seat, artificial turf stadium as another major drawing card along with the ability to attract students from four feeder schools.
“When you look at everything, it’s a top five job in the state,” Thomas said. “I think the program’s a diamond in the rough. When I went on the interview, I had a good vibe about the place. It just felt right.”