West Lincoln hunts football coach again

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 12, 2004

West Lincoln is in the market for a head football coach…again.Ron DuPree announced his resignation last Friday and rode off intothe sunset, taking a job in Texas.

DuPree was the fifth head coach in six years at West Lincoln. Hetook the job last July after Willie Brumfield resigned.

DuPree, 58, shocked the players and the community by his suddendeparture. He informed West Lincoln principal Jason Case on hisplans to accept a coaching position in Texas and departed Fridayafternoon. DuPree elected not to meet with the team and inform themof his decision.

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“He got a job offer in Texas for twice the money,” said Case.”Football is real big in Texas. Sometimes you don’t even have ateaching position in Texas, you just coach football.”

Case said it was unfortunate that DuPree refused to confront hisplayers. “Coach DuPree didn’t want to tell the players he wasleaving.”

Although DuPree’s departure was a shock, Case said most of theplayers had grown accustomed to the coaching changes. “It was likethe same old news. Some of these kids (seniors) who have beenplaying since seventh grade football will have been under sixcoaches.”

DuPree brought a wealth of coaching experience to West Lincoln.He had worked on the senior college level as a head coach. His lastcoaching job had been at Dallas Skyline, metropolitan high schoolwith an enrollment of 4,300 students.

“Coach DuPree did a great job and he worked the kids hard,” saidCase. “He was very knowledgeable of the game. Every time I lookedover there, he was running the kids through drills.”

Case interviewed candidates for the head job Tuesday and today.”At least I have a little more time to fill the position,” saidCase. “Last year I had to replace a coach (Brumfield) at the end ofJune.”

Assistant coaches Luke Addison and Randy Laird are coaching theBears through the conclusion of spring practice.

Case said the Bears would host Salem Friday night for a springgame versus Salem, starting at 6 p.m., on Perry Miller Field.

Despite the annual migration of head coaches, the West Lincolnprogram is showing signs of improvement. “We have more numbers outfor football than we ever had,” said Case. “We just need somebodyto lead them.”

DuPree taught world history and world geography at West Lincolnand lived in a small house on school property located next to theWest Lincoln gymnasium/field house. With all of his belongingspacked in his Honda Passport, DuPree left in a cloud of dust Fridayafternoon after school.

Former West Lincoln principal Perry Miller was instrumental instarting the football program from scratch six years ago. PrestonGordon was in charge of the program for the first two years. DonHolsten coached one season and left at Christmas. Longtime LoydStar coach Roe Burns came out of retirement and coached for oneseason. Burns stepped down due to health reasons, leaving after onesemester.

Salem native Willie Brumfield left Petal and replaced Burns. Hecoached the Bears for one season but left after one year at thehelm.

Brumfield elected to take a position in the Oak Grove schoolsystem with plans on returning to the University of SouthernMississippi to pursue a master’s degree.

“I would like to find someone who would stick with us and notuse it as a stepping stone,” said Case. DuPree had discovered thecoaching vacancy while living in Dallas.

Case said the football program is making positive steps forward.”Right now we are headed in the right direction. We want someone tobuild the program, not win a championship the first year.”

West Lincoln posted a 1-10 record last season, defeating Dexter.The Bears snapped a 25-game losing in streak in 2002, beatingSalem.