Peavey’s Panthers enjoy playoff success

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, December 19, 2010

No matter how difficult the 2010 season appeared to be in earlyOctober, the Brookhaven Panthers kept on swinging. Despite a 2-3start, they came to practice every day and worked hard toimprove.

Coach Tucker Peavey’s Panthers were at their best in the stateplayoffs. They entered the 5A playoffs with a 6-4 record and theNo. 4 seed out of Region 3-5A but proceeded to author threestraight wins over favored opponents. Their Cinderella successbrought pride and excitement to the community as they marched tothe state title game against West Point.

Peavey rallied his team and they produced a season to remember.That effort has earned Peavey The DAILY LEADER’s All-Lincoln CountyCoach of the Year honors for 2010.

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Peavey, 48, is a 1980 BHS graduate with close ties to thecommunity. He starred at tight end and outside linebacker for thePanthers and later played for Co-Lin.

“We had a great season,” said Peavey. “Obviously, you want to beplaying your best in October and November. You just come to workevery day and keep trying to do the best you can.”

Recognized for his work ethic and organizational skills, Peaveyuses his previous coaching experience on the college level toprepare his team for practices and games. He praised his coachingstaff that included defensive coordinator Kelby Bowman andoffensive coordinator Ryan Ross, plus assistant coaches DustinLott, Chaz Allen, Mike Powell, Jessie Bowman, Erick Stokes and ChadLeggett.

“Our coaching staff has done a great job,” said Peavey. “We havehad some transitions to make. They put the time in to prepare ourkids and make them successful.”

In nine years at the helm, Peavey has compiled a 72-44 record. HisPanthers were Class 4A state champions in 2004.

Twenty-six senior members of the team are expected to graduate inMay. Numerous positions must be filled with newcomers on offenseand defense.

“We were playing well before the playoffs started,” said Peavey.”We were able to get everybody healthy.”

Peavey said the Panthers picked it up a notch in the fourthquarter. “The later it got in the game, the harder we played. Wewere able to bounce back with positive plays when things wentwrong.”

Peavey said there were no super stars on this year’s team but theyplayed together as a unit. “The biggest attribute these kids hadwas that they just kept going. They kept swinging.”

Long Beach, Wayne County and West Jones bowed to the Panthers inthe playoffs. They were close, hard-fought contests decided by atouchdown or less.

Peavey is married to the former Leah Ann Holtslander of Natchez.They have four children: Lauren, Ashley, Emily and Nick who was atight end on this year’s team. They also have two grandsons.

He has been coaching for 24 years, starting in 1989. Aftergraduating from Southern Miss, Peavey began coaching at ItawambaCommunity College. After one season, he moved to Baton Rouge wherehe was a graduate assistant and then a volunteer assistant at LSUfor thee years. He also had coaching stints at LSU-Monroe andLSU-Lafayette.

Peavey was hired as head coach at Pearl River Community College 10years ago but the stay was brief. Former Brookhaven superintendentof education Dr. Sam Bounds coaxed him into moving home toBHS.

Peavey praised the school administration and the fervent support ofthe community for helping make Ole Brook’s football programsuccessful. Out-of-town visitors have been impressed by theatmosphere at BHS home games.

Friday nights on King Field are special.