Wade Pierce drawn to “family atmosphere” of Southeast Lauderdale
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A new face at Southeast Lauderdale High School stepped foot on campus for the first time on Tuesday. That new face was Wade Pierce, who was approved on Thursday to be the Tigers new head football coach.
Pierce’s journey to Southeast Lauderdale began in December. He saw the job opening and knew the school was somewhere he wanted to be.
“They (Southeast) started putting out calls around January and February and interviewing people,” Pierce said. “Then with all the other stuff that happened with the job before they called me it ended up being a fairly long process, but it ended up exactly how I wanted it.”
Pierce was hired to be Hamilton High School’s football coach in 2019 after serving as an assistant coach at Neshoba Central for eight years. The moment Pierce found out he was offered the job he was at a powerlifting meet for Hamilton.
“I had to keep going back and forth from the powerlifting meet to talking on the phone with him (Southeast principal Russell Keene),” Pierce said. “There was a lot of excitement knowing this was a great opportunity for me and for our whole family.”
Family is something Pierce emphasized when talking about why he felt like Southeast Lauderdale was the right fit.
“Whenever I asked around people would always say what a great family atmosphere Southeast Lauderdale is,” Pierce said. “There’s some great players here too. Seeing the guys that we have coming back on the roster I know there is potential to be really good in the next several years.”
It is never easy for a new head coach to come in, especially when they are coming from a different school - but the opening at Southeast Lauderdale had an extra layer of difficulty attached to it.
Taking over a program that lost former head coach Calvin Hampton to a car accident in October meant the next coach stepping in had to know there would still be a lot of raw emotions from Hampton’s former players. Pierce was aware of this and made sure to address those emotions head on when meeting with the team for the first time on Tuesday.
“I told them ‘I’m not here to try and replace Coach Hampton’ because he is someone that can never be replaced because of what a great man he was,” Pierce said. “We as coaches don’t do this for the money. We obviously don’t do it for the fame. We do it for the kids, and so I let the kids know I’m here to love on them just like my own kids.”
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