Football coaches make statements

Published 6:36 pm Thursday, April 21, 2011

Statements made by head football coaches during theirresignation interviews.

“I’m leaving a good football program for a better one.”

“I’m burned out and wore out. It’s been a real strain on my wifeand children.”

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“I’ve got to start thinking about retirement. I’m not gettingany younger.”

“This new job is a great opportunity for me and my family. I’mlooking forward to it.”

The final dagger….

“I’m leaving a great program behind and we have some outstandingplayers coming back. I’m confident the new coach will continue ourschool’s proud, championship tradition.”


Talk about pressure. It makes the new coach swallow hard andtake a deep breath. Perhaps a moment of prayer is in order as heenters uncharted waters.

Football is a religion in Mississippi and the SoutheasternConference is the throne room for many collegiate nationalchampions in recent years.

On the high school level, the entire community focuses on thefootball team when that first game arrives in the suffocatingAugust heat. The players give it their all on Friday nights. Thelocal economy thrives or suffers according to the local team’slevel of success.

Football is a hot topic 365 days of the year. Basketball is fun.Baseball and softball are important but football is what reallycounts.

No matter how you slice it, a school’s football team is thedrawing card in 99 percent of the institutions of higher learning.Academics are extremely important but the football team identifiesthe community.

Lincoln County has been blessed with a number of strong footballteams in recent years. Brookhaven’s Panthers won the Class 4A statetitle in 2004 and they were Class 5A runners-up in 2010.

Brookhaven Academy brought home an MAIS Class AA statechampionship in 2009 as the Cougars posted a perfect 15-0worksheet. They were state semifinalists last season.

Ironically, head coaches from both of those schools have steppeddown. Ole Brook head coach Tucker Peavey elected to hang it upafter nine years at the helm. He was exhausted mentally andphysically. Directing a high-profile, successful football programis a 12-month responsibility not just three months in the fall.

Peavey is continuing to serve as athletic director of theBrookhaven Public Schools. He has additional duties as maintenancedirector.

Meanwhile, at Brookhaven Academy, Herbert Davis abruptlyresigned last week after three years. He will join Ryan Ross atClass 6A Ocean Springs and serve as offensive coordinator. He andRoss have been friends since their youth in Lincoln County.

Ross, for the unknowing reader, was promoted to head coach atBHS after Peavey stepped down in late February. A month later, Rosswas being introduced as the new head coach at Ocean Springs.

For sure the weather is heating up and so is the search forqualified head football coaches who can keep the Panthers andCougars near or atop the standings this fall. Names of potentialcandidates are flying in every direction.

Heard a rumor?

Bet that name has been mentioned at both schools. Talk is cheapand folks love to gossip.

For sure, it’s a tall order. Keeping a program on top requiresplenty of overtime. Offseason weightlifting and conditioningprograms make a major difference during the demanding footballcampaign.

Workouts are mandatory. At BHS, players worked out Mondaythrough Thursday, starting in late May. They arose before daylightto run and lift at 6 a.m. Attendance was outstanding. Nearly 100young athletes respond to winning.

This column remembers when Davis was first introduced to the BAstudent body during a ceremony in John R. Gray Gymnasium. Hepromised them championships and the results were impressive.

Davis demanded much of his players. One of the pudgy prospectsapproached him that day and said he was ready to start liftingweights. Davis smiled and said he would have him puking before thefirst workout was completed. He was right.

So much for a fun experience in the weight room.

Davis was a busy man. He served in the capacity of high schoolprincipal, athletic director and headmaster at various times duringhis stint. What he loves to do best is coach football.

Three years ago, the head of a mounted trophy 10-point deerrested in the corner of his office in the remodeled field house. Itpatiently awaited a permanent location on the office wall, next tothe championship trophies. The big buck still is looking for ahome.

This column wishes everyone a blessed Easter as we celebrate theresurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz, c/o The DAILY LEADER, P.O.BOX 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602 or