For time immemorial – okay, over four decades – Clinton High School’s football success was based on hard work and fundamental soundness.

The way the Red Devils worked isn’t allowed anymore.

Corey Fountain, the new head coach, met the community and his team at the school gymnasium on Tuesday. Fountain won 58 games and two state championships there. Clinton’s most recent winning season was in 2010. Like Lamar, Clinton has a rich tradition of success. Just not lately.

It is Fountain’s task to bring it back.

“What you have to do,” he said, “is, you have to establish a strength and conditioning program to get them extra work. There are no restrictions on strength and conditioning. Of course, we’re not going to work them to death, but in the offseason is when you make up that ground.

“You make it up in the meeting rooms before you go out so that they understand what they’re doing before they go out. It’s about teaching the kids first. Once you teach them, then you go out on the practice field, and that makes up for the less time you have there.”

Clinton hasn’t made a more popular choice since FDR in the Great Depression. That’s kind of what this is at Wilder Stadium.

Leaving Lamar wasn’t easy. Fountain played football there. Clinton is bigger; not big, but bigger. It’s a town that craves football success. Lamar is a town that has it.

“I’m investing in these kids,” Fountain said. “We want them to return to Clinton to be in business, entrepreneurs, teachers and mentors to those who come through the program behind them.”

District 56 superintendent Dr. David O’Shields said, “Children need role models. Clinton has hired a coach who can step in and be a role model.”

As Fountain and his family move in, and he sets up his program, he says he will “recruit the halls” and get kids interested in the program who do not currently play.

“Sometimes a kid doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” Fountain said.

The Red Devils are half a year away from their next kickoff, and the new coach realizes he needs every minute.