Larry Foster has joined the Sterlington football staff after spending 14 years at Ouachita.

Larry Foster, one of the area's most respected offensive line coaches, has joined the Sterlington High football coaching staff.

Foster began his coaching career as Ouachita's offensive line coach in 2000 and had been at his alma mater ever since. He handled the dual roles of offensive coordinator and O-line coach from 2003 until making the move to Sterlington two weeks ago.

Although new to the staff, Foster is quite familiar with many of his new co-workers. Jason Thompson, the Panthers' current head coach and athletic director, Willie Ragan, the former Ouachita head coach, SHS offensive coordinator Bobby Breen and SHS secondary coachMark Sims all worked with Foster at Ouachita.

“I have worked with a lot of these guys before, which has made for a pretty smooth transition,” Foster said. “During the season, you are around these guys as much — if not more — than your wife. It just makes it so much easier to come to work when you enjoy being around your buddies and coaching ball.”

Thompson is excited to have Foster on board.

“I have always admired the job Larry has done with his offensive linemen and he will certainly make us a better football team,” Thompson said.

Despite his deep Ouachita roots, Foster found the opportunity to join the Sterlington program too good to pass up. He and his wife Becky, who teaches math at Sterlington Middle School, have resided in Frenchman's Bend for the past four years. Larry and Becky are the parents of a son, Ram (11), and a daughter, Bruin (7).

“We wanted to get our kids in school here,” Foster said. “It was a good move for our family. This is a great community to be a part of.”

Surrounded by a growing community, Sterlington High's athletic programs are on the rise. Sterlington went 8-4 last season in Thompson's first season as head coach, advancing to the second round of the state playoffs. But the upswing isn't limited to football.

“Jason's the right guy to get it done,” Foster said. “He supports all of the sports programs, which is good. At the small schools, you have to share athletes. Jason lets the kids go compete in whichever sport is in season.”

Foster says he is looking forward to working in a veer-based system again. Though Ouachita operated predominantly from a one-back set last year due to the lack of a true fullback, the Lions ran the veer for several years during Foster's tenure.

“The veer is a fun offense to run, especially when you are working with the offensive linemen,” Foster said. “The offensive linemen can be a little more aggressive — out of control, almost — with the stuff you get to do.”

One difference Foster has noticed in his transition from a Class 5A to a Class 2A school is the decrease in numbers.

“Instead of 30 linemen, we have 12,” Foster said. “They are still good players and great kids to work with. Some of these kids can play anywhere. You just don't have the depth.”

Foster was a two-sport standout at Ouachita. Playing for coach Mike Vallery's final team at Ouachita as a senior, Foster helped the Lions to a state runner-up finish on the gridiron in 1994. He played baseball for a couple of seasons at Lyon (Ark.) College before transferring to ULM. Upon graduating from college, he returned to Ouachita as offensive line coach in 2000.