2002 produced lots of changes

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 2, 2003

For Lincoln County and the surrounding area, 2002 will beremembered as a year of coaching changes. It also will beremembered as another year of state championship basketball successfor the Brookhaven Academy girls and the Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege women.

In the coaching ranks, wholesale changes swept through LincolnCounty like a tidal wave. Football coaches began moving early in2002. Anthony Hart moved from Loyd Star to Franklin County afterleading the Hornets to a berth in the South State 2A championshipgame. Sidney Wheatley, Loyd Star’s baseball coach, replaced Hart ashead football coach.

After 20-plus years, Franklin County’s Michael Goff retired asfootball coach but remained as athletic director at theMeadville-based school.

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At Bogue Chitto, Carl Cole departed for a higher-paying positionin Georgia after guiding the Bobcats to an 11-2 record. GarethSartin, a Walthall County native who coached at Meridian, was hiredto replace Cole.

West Lincoln underwent another coaching change when veteran RoeBurns retired after less than a year at the helm. Willie Brumfield,a Walthall County product, moved from Petal to West Lincoln.

At Brookhaven, a tumultuous situation was put to rest whenAndrew Hickman’s contract was not renewed, despite a publichearing. Tucker Peavey, a 1980 BHS grad, was hired in June to coachthe Panthers.

At Co-Lin, Dave Cross resigned after one year at the helm. Hewas replaced in July by David Poinsett, Co-Lin’s offensive linecoach.

There was a changing of the guard at South Pike two weeks ago.Greg Wall stepped down as head coach and was replaced by defensivecoordinator Randall Huffman.

In basketball, Ronald Gill retired as girls coach at Brookhaven.Gill was replaced by Billy Holmes, a former head coach at Mercer(Ga.) University.

Dan Presley’s one-year stint as interim BHS varsity boysbasketball coach ended in June. Hired was Ronald Hines who movedfrom Raymond to BHS.

At West Lincoln, Lane Young replaced Andrew Smithie who directedthe Bears and Lady Bears for one season.

At Wesson, the basketball shuffle continued. Scott Johnstoncoached the girls for one year before moving to Topeka-Tilton.Jemmye Ann Helms moved from Ackerman to Wesson to coach the LadyCobras.

At Franklin County, Charles Moore replaced Albert Cain as girlsbasketball coach.

Basketball continued to a hot item in Lincoln County. AtBrookhaven Academy, Coach Barry Gray’s Lady Cougars won a thirdClass AA state tournament title in four years. At Co-Lin, CoachGwyn Young’s Lady Wolves captured state and regional championships,advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament in Salina, Kan. Co-Linfreshman playmaker Tiania Burns was named to the All-Americanteam.

Gray was named THE DAILY LEADER’s Coach of the Year on theAll-Lincoln County Girls Basketball Team. Senior standout LaceyPalomarez of Enterprise was named Player of the Year.

Enterprise’s Billy Vaughn was named DL Boys Coach of the Yearand Paul Coker of Brookhaven Academy was named Mr. Basketball.

Coach Mitch Mitchell directed his Copiah Academy Lady Colonelsto the Class AAA state tournament title, earning him Area GirlsCoach of the year honors. McComb’s Coach Hilton

Harrell and center Jackie Butler dominated the Boys All-AreaTeam.

In the spring, baseball teams competed for divisionchampionships. Loyd Star’s Hornets were the most successful,reaching the South State semifinals in Class 2A. Wheatley was namedDL Coach of the Year and Loyd Star pitcher/shortstop Cass Bristerwas named MVP on the All-Lincoln County Team. Catcher Kelly Allredof Brookhaven Academy was named Defensive Player of the Year andpitcher/shortstop Jacob Leggett of Bogue Chitto was OffensivePlayer.

In fastpitch softball, Lawrence County made headlines, reachingthe Final Four in Class 4A. Lawrence County’s Veronica Stringfellowwas named DL Coach of the Year and pitcher Ashley Davis was Playerof the Year. Melissa Brill of Loyd Star was Offensive Player of theYear and Ginny Dunaway of Brookhaven was Defensive Player of theYear.

In track, Coach Pat Hardy’s BHS Lady Panthers were runners-up toPearl in the Class 4A state meet. Sophomore Kenyatta Coleman wonthe state title in the 400-meter dash. Brookhaven’s 800 and1600-meter relay teams also won state. The Lady Panthers includedColeman, Katrina Daniels, Kristian McCray and Alicia Hawkins on therelay teams.

In tennis, Brookhaven’s Stuart Misner breezed to the Class 4Astate boys singles crown. Teammates Lane Lofton and Judson Langstoncaptured the boys doubles title.

Brookhaven Academy, coached by Velma Estess, claimed a statechampionship in Class AA girls and boys. Jarod Rayborn won No. 1boys singles. Craig Smith and Jimmy Latham won No. 1 boys doubles.Chris Hooper and Collins Case won No. 2 doubles. Joey Sessums andAnna C. Moak won No. 1 girls doubles while Abby Day and HannahEstess won No. 2.

The Co-Lin women’s tennis team roared to the state and regionaltournament championships. The Lady Wolves won all nine matches inthe state tournament. Coach Brenda Smith’s Lady Wolves advanced tothe nationals in College Station, Texas, where Holli Adams andLindsey Phillips finished runners-up in doubles.

In golf, Loyd Star captured the Class 2A state championship atthe Wolf Hollow Golf Club. Co-Lin claimed a champion in Matt Mooneywho finished runner-up in the NJCAA national tournament.

In girls slowpitch softball, Brookhaven and West Lincoln bothadvanced to the South State finals in Class 4A and Class 1Arespectively. Lisa Covington of Brookhaven and Andrew Redd of WestLincoln were named Co-Coaches of the Year. MVP honors went to WestLincoln shortstop Dana King. Pitcher Mandy Vinson of Brookhavenreceived the Defensive Player Award and Randi Moak of Bogue Chittocaptured the Offensive honor on the All-Area Dream Team.

In football, Brookhaven’s Panthers marched to the third round ofthe state playoffs under first-year head coach Tucker Peavey whowas named Coach of the Year. BHS sophomore Jimmy Johns was namedMr. Football. Stacy Fells of West Lincoln and Jared Vaughn ofEnterprise were named Co-Offensive Players and BHS linebacker BelmaCager was named Defensive Player.