Desoto County Sports

Loper named to coach Mississippi Mudcats

Photo credit: Mississippi Mudcats

Well known in the area as a former arena football player with the Memphis Xplorers and today as a fitness expert and studio owner, Johnny Loper is heading back into professional football as a coach.  

The Mississippi Mudcats of the United Football League (UFL) have announced the hiring of Loper as its head coach. The Mudcats are a new team in the UFL, a 14-team spring football league. The Mississippi Mudcats will be based and play home games in Jackson.

Loper was a four-sport All-Conference athlete at Wayne County High School in Waynesboro, primarily in football. After being heavily recruited by Alabama, Mississippi State, and Jackson State, Loper ultimately was swayed by legendary coach Willie Jeffries to play at South Carolina State University.

His collegiate football career was highlighted by earning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference All-Conference honors as a kick returner and punt returner, as well as being named the team’s Most Valuable Player for his position as wide receiver three years in a row. 

After college, Loper took his game to the professional level by playing for the Memphis Xplorers arena football team from 2000-2004.

In 2005, Loper turned to personal fitness training, opening Jay Lo Fitness Studios and launched his Jay Lo Fitness Program.

In 2018, Loper started coaching football at the high school and elementary school levels at Northpoint Christian School. He approached his new role with the singular purpose of teaching today’s youth how to become champions on and off the field. As a result, he has helped hundreds of student-athletes become better versions of themselves while also assisting them in obtaining scholarships to attend prominent colleges and universities.  

The Mudcats will kick off the 2023 season this April. Home games will be played in a temporary Mudcats Memorial Stadium located in Jackson.

This will be a third time there has been a United Football League, a spring football league that, while not connected with previous versions, whose name has a history dating back to 1961.

According to its website, this new United Football League is a United States-based spring football league that plays an outdoor CFL style brand of football from April to August.

It’s also a reincarnation of the Mississippi Mudcats name, which was an indoor football team based in Tupelo from 2007-2009 and played its games at the BancorpSouth Arena, now called the Cadence Bank Arena.

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