Hart, Greer go way, way back

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 23, 2001

Win or lose Friday night, the sun is going to rise Saturdaymorning. Much importance is placed upon the outcome of high schoolfootball games in Mississippi. Add the importance of state playoffsto the mix and the magnitude intensifies.

Still, things need to remain in proper perspective, no matterhow loudly fans scream and cheerleaders cheer. After the game,players and coaches will shake hands. Coaches Anthony Hart of LoydStar and Ronald Greer of Wesson will exchange compliments, even ahug, wish the winner well in the South state finals and stillremain close friends.

Hart and Greer go way, way back. The 36-year-old coaches wereonce teammates and roommates as teenagers at Copiah-LincolnCommunity College. They continued to room together for two years atMississippi College. These two young men had similar dreams. Theywanted to coach football.

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Hart graduated from Loyd Star and Greer graduated fromBrookhaven in 1983. At Co-Lin, they were on opposite sides of thefootball, Greer at center and Hart at nose guard. Naturally, theybattled each other every day in practice.

“It would certainly be great that whoever won would go on andwin the state championship,” said Hart. Their paths have crossed onnumerous occasions during the years. Both are devoted family menand strong Christian leaders in their communities.

“We were in each other’s weddings,” said Greer. “We have sharedsome good times and some hard times together.

“We are tickled to death to be playing,” said Greer. “We don’thave to travel far. It’s almost like a home game. It should be areal exciting football game.”

Both MC grads were pursuing degrees in the education field. Hartmajored in math and Greer in social studies. They would partcompany for several years. They were both fortunate to work undersome outstanding coaches.

Greer coached under James “Booty” Sloan and David Bradberry atClinton before landing the Wesson job six years ago. Hart workedwith Bubba Davis at West Point, winning a state championship. Healso worked with Davis at Wayne County and Jasper, Ala.

Hart coached under Don Coleman at Brookhaven in the late 1980sas a defensive line coach at BHS for three years and was in chargeof the baseball program. After a coaching change at BHS, Hart wentto Wayne County and rejoined Davis. They both moved to Jasper,Ala.

Hart joined Greer’s staff four years ago and was defensivecoordinator at Wesson for one year. He then moved to Loyd Starwhere he was an assistant to Roe Burns for one year before Burnsretired.

“A lot of people would prefer that we not be friends,” saidGreer. “Our friendship will continue, no matter what happens.

“Anthony did what was best for his family,” Greer pointed out.”I like to beat him as much as anybody but it won’t change ourfriendship.”

The October victory was the first over Loyd Star in Greer’s sixyears at the helm. The big gorilla was finally off his back.

“I really hope that both teams play well,” said Greer. “Win orlose, both teams will know they did their best.”

Hart also is extremely competitive.

“I always tell Ronald, that I hope they win every time they playexcept when they play us. Our friendship has meant a lot more to usthan football.”

Hart has two sons, Daniel 9. and Derek, 7. Greer has threechildren, one boy and two girls, Casey, Leah and Cullen.

Derek weighed two pounds, three ounces at birth. He was born inFebruary, two months early. Hart and his wife Traci were living inWaynesboro at the time. While Derek underwent intensive care at theUniversity of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Traci stayedwith the Greers when they were living in Clinton.

The families stay in touch.

“We had supper at our house a few months ago, two weeks beforethe first Wesson–Loyd Star game,” Hart recalled. “The first twoweeks of the playoffs, we rode together to exchange films. Wetalked a lot of football.”

After Friday night’s epic encounter, the Harts and Greers willstill be friends. And they will still talk football.

Professor Hoopla, B.S., was searching for his favoritebutterball in preparation for Thanksgiving. This week’s predictionswere scrawled on the back of a grocery list.

Here’s how Hoopla sees this weekend’s action, starting with theEgg Bowl.

Ole Miss at Mississippi State: The Scott Fieldscoreboard should blow a fuse because neither defense is strong.Expect the Rebels to escape with a win. Ole Miss42-32.

Jackson State vs. Tennessee State: Another Turkey Dayspecial finds the Tigers playing in Liberty Bowl Stadium. JacksonState 38-28.

Southern Miss at East Carolina: With visions of a bowldancing in their heads, the Golden Eagles pull out a narrow Fridaywin. Southern Miss 27-20.

Wesson at Loyd Star: Wow! In a hard-fought, probableovertime, nail-biter. Loyd Star 24-21.

Bogue Chitto at Puckett: Bobcats go on the road for thisClass 1A showdown and hand the Wolves their first defeat. BogueChitto 22-20.

South Pike at Northeast Jones: Greg Wall has the Eaglesplaying well as they visit The Jungle for a Class 4A quarterfinalsshowdown. South Pike 21-10.