Hart’s game plan, comes together

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 24, 2001

Everything came together for Coach Anthony Hart’s Loyd StarHornets. After a season-opening loss to Bay Springs, the Hornetswent on a roll. They wound up losing to Wesson in a Region 6-2Ashowdown but they rebounded and avenged that loss to the Cobras inthe third round of the state playoffs, advancing to the South Statechampionship game and finishing 11-3.

For those accomplishments, Hart has been named Lincoln CountyFootball Co-Coach of the Year. He didn’t have to share the award in2000, when his Hornets advanced to the second round of theplayoffs.

“God keeps everything in perspective,” said Hart. “He takes careof you. It doesn’t always result in wins but you can grow and learnfrom setbacks.”

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Hart, 36, underwent back surgery twice in the last year and hebegan to wonder if he would ever be able to coach again. Lastsummer, after the second surgery, Hart grew stronger in his faith,thanks to extra spiritual inspiration from his wife, Traci.

“My wife, Traci, has been wonderful support for me,” said Hart.”My family supports me.” They have two young sons, Daniel, age 9;and Derek, age 7.

“I have a good group of coaches,” Hart pointed out. “They workextremely hard. It wouldn’t be possible to achieve the successwe’ve had without them.”

Hart said the Hornets came together as a team after theregular-season loss to Wesson, a defeat which knocked them out ofthe Division 6-2A title. “They set their minds together and playedwell.”

Working with Hart are Barry Reeves, offensive coordinator;Bradley Crow, offensive and defensive line; Johnny Daves, tightends and defensive ends; and Sidney Wheatley, receivers anddefensive backs.

Hart graduated from Loyd Star in 1983, playing for Coach RoeBurns. He signed a scholarship and played nose tackle atCopiah-Lincoln Community College for two years. Then he transferredto Mississippi College and obtained a degree in mathematics.

Hart began his coaching career at West Point for three years. Wewon a Class 5A state championship in baseball. He also was anassistant coach to Bubba Davis when West Point won three statefootball championships.

Moving closer to home, Hart coached at Brookhaven for threeyears on Don Coleman’s football staff. He also coached the Pantherbaseball team.,

After leaving Brookhaven, Hart reunited with Davis at WayneCounty for two years. Then most of the staff followed Davis when hemoved to Jasper, Ala., where Hart coached two years. He coached oneyear at West Lauderdale before going to Wesson for one year as anassistant to longtime friend Ronald Greer.

In 1999 Hart returned to Loyd Star as an assistant to Burns,coaching the defense. In 2000, he replaced Burns who retired,taking the Hornets to the state playoffs and an 8-3 record.

Hart said he inherited a solid program at Loyd Star. “CoachBurns left me with a good foundation.”

Recalling the South State championship game at Gulfport, Hartlauded his team’s determination. “We got down 19-0 to St. John’sand almost came back and won it.” St. John won 32-20.

“We had a tremendous group of seniors,” said Hart. “They will bedifficult to replace.”

Hart won’t be coaching the Loyd Star baseball team this year asWheatley takes control. He’ll have more time to spend with hisfamily and continue work in the Fellowship of ChristianAthletes.

“We are looking forward to spending some more time with thefamily,” said Hart. That’s a priority.