BA names Reggie Lea as new head football coach

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Brookhaven Academy is taking it back to the 1990s in its search for a new football coach. On Monday, the school announced via social media that it had hired Reggie Lea as the new football coach.

Lea replaces Anthony Hart, who coached at the school for two seasons before recently taking the head job at Lafayette High in Oxford, a school where he’s previously won two MHSAA state titles.

Hart going back to Lafayette High led to Lea coming back to Brookhaven Academy, a school where he was head coach from 1994-1998.

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Lea was twice recognized as Daily Leader Coach of the Year during his first run at BA. His 1994 team went 6-3 overall after he took over the program following the resignation of former coach Herbert Davis.

The best season for Lea at the school was his 1998 team, a group that finished 8-4 overall and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Winston Academy.

Lea left BA with a 23-30 overall record and went on to be an assistant coach at Wesson and Crystal Springs High School.

For the last 20 years, Lea has been working as a special education teacher at the Mississippi Adolescent Center in Brookhaven.

The desire to coach high school football again is one that’s never left Lea.

“I’ve never lost that fire to coach again,” said Lea. “In fact, the desire to coach and to impact the lives of young people through football is stronger now than it has ever been within me.”

Hart and Lea coached together at Brookhaven High School in the early 90s under then BHS coach Don Coleman.

They’d talked about Lea coming on as an assistant coach in the past, but the timing didn’t work out.

Once Lea found out that Hart was leaving for Lafayette, he quickly showed interest in the job to BA Head of School Jason Case.

On Tuesday morning, Lea met with the returning junior high and high school players at the school. He gave them a message of how important football has been in his own life and how he hopes that they’ll see the same life lessons that come through playing the game.

“Football can teach us so much about how to respond to the difficult times we come into during our life,” said Lea. “It teaches you how to get back up and dust yourself off when you’re facing adversity. I’m a different person today then the person I was when I had this job the first time. I’ve matured a lot as a person and a coach, and I’ve got a much more positive outlook on life. I’m really looking forward to getting to know our players and getting to work.”

Lea also hopes to bring stability to the program. He was initially replaced by Doug Clanton in 1999. The coaches at the school between then and now includes Ray Ishee, Bo Milton, Herbert Davis, Tripp McCarty, Blake Purvis, Ron Rushing and Hart.

Looking back at his own life, Lea can see the impact that the coaches of his youth had on him.

“I was so lucky to have men like Coach Doug Sullivan, Coach Blaise, Coach Poole and Coach German to help guide me when I was coming up and I’d like to be able to make the same type of difference in the lives of our players,” said Lea.

After playing at Brookhaven High, Lea went on to play fullback at Southeastern Louisiana for future Ole Miss head coach Billy Brewer.

“We’ll let our personnel dictate what we do as far as scheme goes,” said Lea. “This is a great opportunity for me personally and I’m beyond thrilled to be leading the Cougar football program again.”