Skip to main content

Southside (Louisiana) brings in state championship-winning coach to lead football program

Former Many, Natchitoches Central coach Jess Curtis takes over helm of Sharks

YOUNGSVILLE, LOUISIANA - Jess Curtis is on the move, again.

The veteran football coach, who built an elite program at alma mater Many High School, resigned from Natchitoches Central to accept the same position at Southside High School in Youngsville.

Curtis spent one year at Class 5A Natchitoches Central, posting a 2-8 record. He spent the previous 13 seasons at Class 2A Many where he built a small-school juggernaut that won three state titles - the last coming in 2022 - and finished as runner-up three more times.

"My personal life led me down south," said Curtis, who has a girlfriend in the Lafayette area. "I was looking for a place to set my roots and coach for the next 15 years."

Curtis follows former Sharks coach Josh Fontenot, who took a job with the Lafayette Parish School Board.

Fontenot led the program, which has only been in existence for seven years, to a 10-2 record and a quarterfinal appearance in 2022. The Sharks reached the second round of the 2023 playoffs, losing 36-35 at fourth-seeded Airline.

SBLive Louisiana All-State football team: Catholic-Baton Rouge 2024 QB, state champion, Daniel Beale named MVP 

Curtis put an emphasis on running the football at Many. Southside was a ground-oriented team the last few years under Fontenot, operating out of the Flexbone formation on offense.

"I think it's a great fit," he said. "Southside has the type of physical kids I excel with. The Youngsville community is continuing to explode. I can't wait to get to work."

A recent census indicated that Youngsville is the fastest-growing municipality in Louisiana. Its population swelled from under 4,000 in 2000 to almost 16,000 in 2020, a growth of 299%, and is currently nearing 19,000 residents.

"What Coach Fontenot did at Southside was nothing short of amazing," Curtis said. "Took them to the quarterfinals last year and was one point away from the quarterfinals this past season."

Photo of Jess Curtis by Parker Waters

-- Mike Coppage | @SBLiveLA