Veteran coach returns to Ouachita football

By MATTHEW BRANCH | OBU Sports Network

The Ouachita Baptist University football team has hired alumnus Frank Espy to be its next defensive backs coach.

Espy is a 2011 Ouachita graduate and played football for the Tigers for two seasons before beginning what has been a successful coaching career spanning more than a decade.

Frank Espy

“It’s always good to have alums come back,” said Ouachita Football Head Coach Todd Knight. “Frank has done a great job and has seen a lot of success at each of his previous positions. He has shown time and time again how much he cares about the players and doing things the right way. He fits into the program well and is a valuable addition to the staff.”

“The timing happened to be right this time around,” said Espy, who has had opportunities to return to his alma mater before now, but for various reasons did not come to fruition. “I am thankful for another shot at coaching the Tigers.”

Coaching is something that Espy knew he wanted to do; it may have well been in his blood.

“My dad was a high school football coach, so I have been on the field my whole life,” said Espy when asked about why he loved coaching. “Seeing the impact my dad had on his players and others on and off the field, it made me want to have that same impact on others in my life.”

The Vallejo, California native started his collegiate career in the junior college ranks at Mendocino Community College in California. There, Espy earned All-Bay Valley recognition as was named the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year while helping lead the Eagles to a Northern California Football Conference title that same year.

After graduating from MCC in 2006, Espy made his way to Arkadelphia to play defensive line for the Tigers. In his two seasons with the Tigers, Espy started a total of 11 games, including all 10 games of the 2008 season. Espy racked up a total of 60 tackles in his Tiger career, including a career-high seven tackles against SAU in 2008. He played alongside current Tigers running back coach Julius Pruitt at Ouachita and was coached by current defensive coordinator Roy Thompson Jr.

After graduating from Ouachita with his bachelor’s degree in speech communications in 2011, Espy stayed in Arkadelphia as a graduate assistant, helping coach defensive line at Ouachita while getting his master’s degree in sports administration from Henderson State University.

Espy went back to Mendocino in 2014 to coach defensive backs under his former d-line coach. He was promoted to defensive coordinator the next season. In 2016, Espy became one of the youngest head coaches in the nation when he took the helm for his alma mater. The 2017 MCC Eagles led the nation with 51 takeaways under Espy’s leadership.

Espy’s next stop was as the offensive coordinator for Cabrillo Community College in Aptos, California in 2018. In Espy’s first season with at CCC, he helped lead the Seahawks to a 7-3 record with an offense that put out 419 yards and 35 points per game. The 2019 Seahawks team posted an 8-3 record and made a bowl game appearance while averaging 435 yards per game and scored almost 33 points per game

Espy then made his way to the Motor City in 2022 as the defensive line coach at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. In his one season with the WSU Warriors, Espy coached two honorable mention All-GLIAC recipients, as well as the team’s leader in sacks and tackles for loss. WSU’s defense was tied for first in conference and sixth nationally with 13 fumble recoveries. 11 of Espy’s student-athletes earned Academic All-GLIAC honors, including four players earning spots on the excellence team for GPAs at or above a 3.5.

Espy comes back to Arkadelphia with his wife, Sheka, and two children, Kyla and Genesis.

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