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Peavey raises Panthers to higher level

It has been a remarkable year for Brookhaven head football coachTucker Peavey and his Brookhaven Panthers. Peavey took over theprogram in June, hired a group of new assistant coaches and steeredhis Panthers to the third round of the Class 4A state playoffs,finishing 7-5.

Peavey’s ability to bring coaches and players together and forma successful product has earned him THE DAILY LEADER’s LincolnCounty Football Coach of the Year honor for the 2002 campaign.

Peavey, 40, is a 1980 BHS graduate. His first edition at BHSexceeded all expectations. The Panthers finished third in theRegion 6-4A race and advanced to the state playoffs. They defeatedEast Central 22-7 in the opening round and then upset high-poweredSouth Pike 2-0 in an epic defensive struggle on King Field. In thethird round, the Panthers lost 31-7 to D’Iberville, the eventualstate champion.

“I’m almost embarrassed to have my name on (award),” saidPeavey. “We have all of those assistant coaches whose names need tobe on it.”

Peavey hired Rod Henderson to serve as defensive coordinator andRyan Ross to work as offensive coordinator. Both are BHSgraduates.

He also hired Eric Stokes to coach the receivers. Two holdoversfrom the former staff were Pat Hardy, secondary coach; and JaymiePalmer, defensive line.

“As a coaching staff, all of us believed the same thing,” saidPeavey. “Our coaches were well-organized and they worked hard. Wewanted to accomplish the same thing.”

When the Panthers played on Friday nights, they appeared to bewell-organized and well-disciplined. They adjusted to Peavey’scoaching philosophy and steadily improved as the seasonprogressed.

“Our players gave it all they had,” said Peavey. “They playedhard and gave a great effort throughout the year.”

The Panthers also remained healthy. They lost only one starter,defensive end Julius Lloyd to an ankle injury; and he returned latein the season to help Brookhaven make the playoffs.

“We were real fortunate,” said Peavey. “We only had one playerwho really lost playing time.”

For Peavey, this was his first season-long, head-coaching job.He coached nearly 13 years on the college level. He coached fiveyears at the University of Louisiana-Monroe and three years atLouisiana-Lafayette. He coached one year at Itawamba CommunityCollege and was at Pearl River for four months as head coach thisyear, leading the Wildcats through spring practice. He served asvolunteer offensive line coach at LSU for three years, 1988-90.

Peavey was a standout guard and tight end at Copiah-LincolnCommunity College. He graduated from the University of SouthernMississippi and began coaching at Petal. From there he moved to LSUfor three years. He was an assistant coach at Episcopal High inBaton Rouge for two years.

Asked about his coaching philosophy, Peavey said, “You have tobe yourself. You have to figure out who you are and learn here andthere. You must truly believe in what you are trying to do.”

Peavey was interviewed by Brookhaven Superintendent of EducationDr. Sam Bounds and the contract was drawn up in early June. Peaveysaid he appreciated the support displayed by Bounds and BHSprincipal Susan Chapman. “They have helped me out immensely.

“I’m thankful for all the people in the community who supportedour program,” said Peavey. “The fans were very supportive of ourcoaches and players.”

Led by sophomore quarterback Jimmy Johns, THE DL’s Player of theYear, Brookhaven’s football future looks bright. The entirestarting offensive line also returns.

“We have a significant foundation to build upon,” said Peavey.”We have a good nucleus returning and I’m looking forward toit.”

According to Peavey, football is a year-round activity for hisplayers. “I told our guys, ‘I don’t want part-time footballplayers. I want to be able to count on you 24 hours a day.’ We wantgood students and good citizens.”

Peavey and his wife, the former Leah Ann Holtslander of Natchez,have two children. Lauren is 20 years old and Nicholas is 10. Thefamily belongs to First Baptist Church of Brookhaven.

“Right now, I’m looking forward to the holidays,” said Peavey.”It’s been a very busy five months for me and my family.”