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Burns takes over West Lincoln football program

After a one year hiatus from coaching football, Roe Burns isreturning to the sidelines. Burns officially became the new headfootball coach at West Lincoln Monday night, gaining approval fromthe Lincoln County School Board.

Burns coached 20 years at Loyd Star. He retired after the 1999season and assistant coach Anthony Hart was promoted to the topjob. Burns had realized four consecutive seasons with 10 or morevictories at Loyd Star.

Burns said he was contacted by Lincoln County Superintendent ofEducation Perry Miller and West Lincoln principal Monty Wilson lastmonth, asking him to evaluate the West Lincoln football program.”They asked me to look at the situation and see what I thoughtabout it.”

West Lincoln has a new field house and the new field wasdedicated in 1999. “Their facilities are as good as Loyd Star’s,”said Burns. “They have a nice weight room.”

Burns said he is looking forward to coaching again. West Lincolnhas yet to beat a Division 7-1A varsity foe: Dexter, Salem,Enterprise and Bogue Chitto. Under the new regional format whichbegins with the next football season, Natchez Cathedral, Mt. Olive,Stringer and 2000 state champion Mize will join the former Division7-1A teams. The top four teams will advance to the state playoffsat the close of the regular season.

“It will be a challenge,” said Burns. “If the kids work hard,they will continue to get better.”

Burns said he had no regrets about resigning at Loyd Star afterthe 1999 campaign. His Hornets won the Division 6-2A championshipand beat Philadelphia in the opening round of the state playoffsbefore losing to Bay Springs. They finished 11-1.

“I enjoyed the past year and got to see a lot of college games,”said Burns. “It didn’t bother me not being on the sideline.”

Burns said he had a coaching opportunity in Texas “but it wastoo far from home.”

“I really enjoy working with kids,” said Burns. “When I resignedat Loyd Star, I said I might look at something else if theopportunity arose. I didn’t plan on going out and seeking ajob.”

Burns said West Lincoln assistant coaches Luke Addison and RandyLaird would remain on the football staff. Addison has been at WestLincoln for three years and Laird joined the staff last summerafter coaching basketball at Bogue Chitto for one season.

“I’m real impressed with Coach Addison,” said Burns. “CoachLaird is eager to learn.”

Besides increasing physical strength and football knowledge atWest Lincoln, Burns said the players must change their mindset.”The biggest thing we have to change is the attitude. They glass isnot half empty; it’s half full.”

Burns said reaction to his decision to coach football at WestLincoln has been mixed. “A lot of people have asked me, ‘Why wouldyou want to do that?’

“These kids are going to be successful some day,” Burnspredicted. “I know the people at West Lincoln are very supportive.They have built some nice facilities with volunteers.

“They have a lot of community support for the program. Now wewant a commitment from the kids.”

Coach Burns celebrated his 53rd birthday Dec. 10. He is marriedto the former Kay Wallace of Bogue Chitto. Both are graduates ofEnterprise High School. Burns obtained his teaching degree from theUniversity of Southern Mississippi.

They are the parents of three children. Brooks, 28, is anassistant football coach at Northeast Jones. Kami, 26, is anEnglish and drama teacher at Loyd Star. Brody, 20, is a sophomoreat Ole Miss and works as manager with the football team.

Burns will teach junior high science. He replaces Coach DonHolston who resigned last month because of health reasons. Holstoncoached the Bears for one year and compiled a 3-7 record, winningthree games, two against junior varsity opponents.

Holston replaced Preston Gordon who helped found the program.Gordon coached the Bears for two years before accepting aprincipal’s position with North Pike Middle School last summer.

“Coach Burns is an excellent coach and an outstanding role modelfor the kids,” said Miller. “I’m confident he will do a good job atWest Lincoln.”

Wilson agreed with Miller. “Coach Burns is highly recommended byeveryone I have spoken to, both inside and outside Lincoln County.His coaching credentials are only overshadowed by his credentialsas a human being. He is an outstanding Christian man who I lookforward to working with.”