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Bramlett coaches McComb Tigers to state title

MCCOMB – The 2000 football season was a special one for McCombhead coach Lee Bramlett. His Tigers shut out Clarksdale 14-0 onSaturday night, Dec. 2, for the State Class 4A championship atMississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.

The last state 4A championship held by McComb was in 1984.

Bramlett’s Tigers finished the season with a 13-1 record andwere the Division 6-4A champs. Last year, division member LawrenceCounty was the Class 4A state football champion.

For his outstanding accomplishments this season, Bramlett hasbeen named the Daily Leader’s 2000 Area Football Coach of theYear.

It is also Bramlett’s final year as head coach at McComb. Hehas officially announced his retirement from coaching.

“I am going to retire from it all,” said Bramlett. “Ipossibly might work part-time for the school district.”

Bramlett is the McComb athletic director and Director ofPhysical Education. His career record at McComb is 82-35 in 10seasons. In 1994 and 1995, McComb was state runner-up. The Tigerswere 12-2 in ’94.

“It has been a great year,” explained Bramlett. “We improvedas the season went along. Defensively, we really pulled together inthe last two ball games. There were a lot of good football playerson this team.

“The defense was real good,” continued Bramlett. “It wasstrictly a team defense. Our special teams were real good. Weblocked a number of punts during the year and scored on at leastthree or more. Some were safeties.”

Another key factor to the Tigers success this season was theteam avoiding major injuries.

“We managed to stay healthy all year,” Bramlettsaid.

McComb was blessed with 16 seniors on the 2000 squad. Thoseplayers helped make the difference in having a great, winningseason.

” We had good senior leadership,” Bramlett said.

Bramlett felt the state title was important for thedivision. “The win was good for this division,” he stated. “This isthe toughest 4A in this state. Last year, we lost to (eventualstate champ) Lawrence County 7-6. This is a tough division.” McCombhanded defending State Champ Lawrence a 25-16 defeat during regularseason play.

Bramlett complimented his coaching staff for the success theteam had this season. “We had a good coaching staff; a realcompatible bunch. We had a good group.”

Bramlett’s assistant coaches are Ted Milton, defensivecoordinator; Trent Hammond and Greg Slaughter, defensive ends;Chris Smith, offensive line; Billy Coon, offensive backs; and JamesConey, Gregg Slaughter, Fred Barnes and Paul Watkins.

Preseason practice and working in the weight room helpedmold this year’s championship squad.

“Our kids worked hard during the off season,” said Bramlett.”We came in and worked four days a week in the summer. It was thedifference.”

Bramlett said he felt his Tigers had the chance to go allthe way after McComb beat Amite (La.) 34-14.

“We beat them at home,”said Bramlett. “They were the Class3A champs in Louisiana. They had a 19-game winningstreak.”

Bramlett was born in Jefferson, Texas. He graduated fromJefferson High School in 1959. While in high school, Bramlettplayed football and was quarterback for the Bulldogs.

In three years at Jefferson High, Bramlett lettered infootball and was honorable mention on the All-District team. TheBulldogs finished his senior year with a 5-5 record.

Bramlett spent one semester at Parish Texas Junior Collegefollowing graduation from Jefferson. He spent another semester atStephen F. Austin College before spending his remaining three yearsat Mississippi College in Clinton.

Bramlett played football while at MC under the direction ofHartwell McPhail. A knee injury ended his gridiron career butBramlett graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physicaleducation.

Following graduation, Bramlett began his coaching andteaching career at Natchez Adams High School in 1964. Five yearslater, he married his wife, Judy, who was originally fromLouisville and was also a teacher at Natchez Adams. They have twodaughters, Courtney, 30, and Brooke, 29. His wife Judy is retired.Courtney is a paralegal with a law firm in Jackson and Brooke isexecutive director of the downtown YMCA in Baton Rouge.

Bramlett spent the next year teaching at Pineville, La. Hemoved to Northwest Community College in Senatobia where he spendthe next five years coaching.

Following the Northwest job, Bramlett took over the coachingposition at Florence High School where he stayed for 13 years. HisEagles played in three bowl games and had two great 9-2 seasons in1983 and 1986.