By Mark Buffalo
LONOKE — The Lonoke School Board removed the interim tag from coach Taggart Moore during a special school board meeting Monday night.
Moore was officially hired as the new Lonoke Jackrabbits football coach. He served as interim coach following the resignation of former coach Doug Bost after the fourth game of the 2016 season. The hiring was confirmed by Lonoke School director of athletics Marc Sherrell.
“We had a lot of great applicants,” Sherrell said of those who applied for the Lonoke job. “We think Taggart will do an outstanding job.”
This year was Moore’s fourth season at Lonoke. He served as the defensive coordinator the last two years.
“I’m just really excited about the opportunity, … I’m very blessed to have the opportunity,” Moore said Monday night. “I’ve already had the opportunity to work with the kids the last few months. We’ve built the program up. We’ve doubled the numbers. We’ve worked really hard to get in the weight room and add weight and to get bigger, faster and stronger than they’ve ever been and we’re just excited to see what is to come.”
During the season in 2016, Lonoke had players that numbered in the mid-30s. Moore said he currently has 57 in the program, which a good bit of those playing baseball.
“Only 42 of those are in offseason right now,” Moore said. “We’ve got 15 coming back out of baseball. We’ve got the biggest numbers we’ve had since I’ve been here and probably recently, honestly.”
Moore said they have 14 players back who weren’t in the program last fall. He’s also got 21 seniors if they all stay in the program.
“It’s going to be huge,” he said. “They’ve all bought in. They’ve all been working their tails off.”
Moore said the Jackrabbits will run multiple sets on offense under his leadership.
“Our personnel has changed dramatically from last year with all of the new players,” Moore said. “That means we’re going to have to have a drastic change in the offense and defense. That means going to some things that will be more multiple and getting different personnel groups onto the field.
“If we have to, we’re going to be in the shotgun. And when we get down on the goal line and we need to be under center, we’re going to be under center. We’re going to have a lot of different formations because we have a ton of new athletes out there and we’ve got to get them the ball in space.”
Moore said defensively the Jackrabbits will run a 3 front, switching from the 4 front they ran in 2016.
“We’re the biggest we’ve been up front since I’ve been here,” he said. “We’re going to be able to have a little bit more speed and athleticism over there since we’ve got these other players out.”
Moore said he’s looking forward to working with assistant coaches Jack Keith and Tyler Tarrant, as well as the rest of the junior high staff.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “The first thing we’re going to do is move those junior high guys up. We’re all going to be football coaches. We’re going to build the program 7-12th grade.”
Moore and his wife Anna, who is a teacher at Lonoke High School, are both excited to be in a “great district with so much support.”
“The parents, teachers, kids have supported me all through this,” he said. “We’ve extremely excited and super blessed to be in this position. We know that getting all these new kids out will be exciting. We’re just ready to hit the ground running and get this thing going.”