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Walker’s interim head coach Cecil Thomas coaches against Zachary during a District 4-5A game.

You can remove “interim” from Walker football coach Cecil Thomas’ title. WHS Principal Jason St. Pierre announced Monday that Thomas, who took over as interim coach one week into the season, will be the Wildcats’ coach moving forward.

Walker (8-2), the No. 11 seed, hosts No. 22 Hahnville (5-5) to open the Class 5A playoffs Friday night. Thomas is a Hammond native and former Hammond High coach who played at the University of Utah and coached on the college and high school levels for 20 years.

Thomas has led Walker to an 7-2 record since Lester Ricard resigned after Week 1.

“I think coach Thomas not only held things together, he got the team to focus and compete at a high level,” St. Pierre said. “He kept the ship in the middle of the canal. He also made some changes during the season with coordinators and the offense and defense that worked. Based on all that, I feel he deserves this opportunity. You can see the players love playing for him, and that was a factor in this decision, too.”

Thomas equally thrilled with the decision, "Spending time in the weight room with these guys since I have been here I think really has paid off," Thomas said. "We were able to form a bond. This is a great group of kids. I'm thankful to be in a place like this with great support from the administration, the student body and the fans. I think this is a special place to be on Friday nights."

Follow Robin Fambrough on Twitter, @FambroughAdv.