• 73°

Hometown product hired to coach Wesson boys basketball team

Rusty Newman knows all about Wesson basketball. A 1999 Wessongraduate, Newman has been named varsity boys basketball coach incharge of the high school and junior high programs.

“I’m very excited, especially going back home,” said Newman. “Ihave high expectations.”

Newman, 29, replaces Ron Kessler who coached Wesson for five years.Kessler has moved back home to Philadelphia, Pa.

“This job has a special place in my heart,” said Newman. “It willtake time to build a successful program.”

Wesson principal Ronald Greer said he was pleased to have Newman onhis staff as a coach and teacher. Newman will teach and health andhistory at Wesson.

“We are proud to have Rusty on our staff,” said Greer. “We lookforward to him working with our kids. He’s a hometown guy who islooking for an opportunity at the high school level and we arehappy to give it to him.”

A Southern Miss graduate, Newman majored in physical education,with a minor in history, science and health. He coached basketballfour years at South Pike Junior High, also coaching girls slowpitchsoftball and golf.

Last year Newman coached at Lawrence County, directing the juniorhigh boys and girls basketball teams and serving as varsityassistant.

“Coach (Phillip) Knight and Coach Greer taught me when I was inhigh school,” Newman noted. “Coaching is something I always wantedto do.”

Newman managed summer league men’s softball teams for severalyears. He attended Copiah-Lincoln Community College where he servedteam manager for the basketball team.

Asked about his basketball coaching philosophy, Newman said, “Ilike to play defense. I’m going to demand a lot more hustle. Ourkids have to learn to work hard.”

Newman will have four seniors returning next season: Kyle Cross,Hunter Hood, Gib Britt and D.J. Coleman.

He will have one junior and seven sophomores on the squad.

Newman said there was an advantage to coaching the junior highteam. “It will give me a chance to get them all on my page.”

Last season’s junior high team finished 12-1.

Newman is married to the former Sarah Vaughn and they have a2-year-old son, Dayne.

New Softball Assistant

In another change, Greer said Michelle Nunnery will work as anassistant slowpitch and fastpitch softball coach to JackieJohnson.