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Wall leaves behind some large shoes to fill at BHS

How do you replace a Greg Wall?

Recognized as one of the winningest high school football coachesin Mississippi, Wall announced his resignation Monday as headfootball coach and athletic director at Brookhaven High School.

How do you replace a Greg Wall?

Recognized as one of the winningest high school football coachesin Mississippi, Wall announced his resignation Monday as headfootball coach and athletic director at Brookhaven High School.

That news shocked more than a few folks. On the other hand,insiders knew Wall was in his final season at BHS. Many expectedhim to retire at the end of the last school year. Graduation lossesfrom the 1999 football team were severe and Wall seriouslyconsidered not returning.

At 54 years of age, Wall still has many good coaching yearsahead of him. With 30 years coaching knowledge under his belt, Wallcould draw an ample retirement pension and coach or teachpart-time.

Retirement can be enjoyable. Wall belongs to an Amite Countyhunting club which leases over 1,400 acres. An experiencedoutdoorsman, he could become a professional deer hunting or fishingguide.

In his last interview, Wall said he was in a position toconsider several options. Realistically, many outstanding coachesin Mississippi can step outside the state to coach and still drawtheir pension. Alabama pays a higher salary for coaches andteachers; so does Florida.

His credentials are impressive. Wall has a lifetime coachingrecord of 225-65-2. He was 35-17 in five years at Brookhaven,leading the Panthers to their best-ever campaign at 12-1 in1997.

At South Pike, Wall coached the Eagles to 190 wins, 48 lossesand 2 ties. He won state championships in 1989 and 1992. The Eagleswere state runners-up in ’86 and ’94.

Certainly, Division 6-4A can maintain its claim to being thetoughest division from top to bottom in Mississippi. LawrenceCounty won the state championship in 1999 and McComb marched to thetitle in 2000.

When Wall departed South Pike five years ago, the earth shook.His migration to Brookhaven raised eyebrows from Pascagoula toSouthaven. Asked for an explanation, Wall said he wanted achallenge. The money was good, the air was fresher and Wall alreadyrecognized the Panthers’ potential.

Wall pumped up the weight program, brought in some solidassistant coaches and the Panthers became division titlecontenders. They made two trips to the state playoffs in fiveyears.

At long last, three years ago, a new field house was completed,mainly for the football team. For 25 years this column had listenedto BHS coaches moan and groan about the outdated, miserable fieldhouse which was located beneath the concrete home stands. Yes, itwas deplorable.

Obviously, Wall’s future is in his hands. He and his wife,Betsy, own a home located across the street from the South Pikecampus. She teaches school there and their son, Brinson, is ajunior high coach at South Pike.

South Pike is interviewing candidates to fill the head footballjob vacated by Clarence Morgan who retired. Morgan and Wall coachedtogether for nearly a quarter of a century. In five encounters withMorgan, Wall’s Panthers won three of them.

While Wall considers his future, BHS fans are wondering whatlooms ahead for their football program. Certainly, they want a headcoach who can maintain and even improve upon the high standard setby Wall.

According to Dr. Sam Bounds, Brookhaven’s superintendent ofeducation, the position is being opened to all applicants. The newhead coach also will serve as athletic director. He also willoversee the athletic departments at Alexander Junior High andLipsey Middle School.

Brookhaven is considered a good opportunity for the right coach.The program has strong community support and Lincoln County is anice place to live. Wall made the daily commute from Magnolia butstill developed many friends who supported the BHS program.

If you enjoy rumors, gossip and scuttlebutt, open your ears andlisten. The names of several college level assistant coachesalready have been mentioned as possible candidates to replaceWall.

Bounds said he would like to name a new head coach before thestart of spring football practice; meaning mid April or early May.Forgive the current assistant coaches if they have a worried look.It is an uncertain time for them and their families.

New head coaches are usually granted the freedom to bring intheir own staff of assistant coaches. He’ll have to make room forsome newcomers.