Southeast Lauderdale High School not hiring head football coach yet

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 7:37 PM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Lauderdale County School District board called a special meeting Friday to vote on the recommendation of a new head football coach for Southeast Lauderdale High School.

During the meeting, Lauderdale County Superintendent Dr. John-Mark Cain said the following:

“After an exhaustive search with 48 applicants, Southeast High School hired a committee to process and interview these individuals. At this time, based on recommendation from Principal Keene and his search committee, the administration would like to recommend Mr. Zach Jones as the new football coach at Southeast Lauderdale High School.”

After Dr. Cain’s announcement, the four board members present for the meeting unanimously voted to approve the hiring of Coach Jones. One board member was absent from the meeting.

Around 1 p.m. Friday afternoon, less than an hour after the board meeting began, Newscenter 11 received word that Jones would not be taking the football head coaching job at Southeast Lauderdale High School.

Southeast Lauderdale High School principal Russell Keene explained that following the board meeting, he and Jones spoke on the phone. It was during that call the two discussed Jones not taking the job.

“We spoke shortly after the board meeting ended. We went back and forth with some things,” Principal Russell Keene said. “To have a coach back out is not necessarily a bad thing...I wish him the best of luck and his boys at Lumberton as well.”

Principal Keene said some “new developments” arose when him and Jones spoke on the phone shortly after the board meeting concluded. He did not specify what these developments were but said if the school had known these new developments prior, the motion to approve a new coaching hire would not have occurred.

When asked how close Jones was to becoming the new head football coach of Southeast Lauderdale, Principal Keene had this to say:

“Um…he was approved...haha,” Principal Keene said. “It was extremely close. We were all on board and some developments happened that came to light afterwards that made us both have this decision.”

The head coaching job has been vacant since October when former head coach Calvin Hampton tragically died in a car accident.

Principal Keene said with the numerous other applications received, they are certain they will find the right fit soon.

“We had people from all over the country apply, places like Colorado and Texas,” Principal Keene said. “We’re trying to get the best applicant for Southeast. That is what we are really committed to, so if that means we back out at the last minute again, then that’s what we’re gonna do. We’re going to do whatever it takes for Southeast to have the program we deserve.”

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