Larry Weems returning to Meridian football

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) Larry Weems is coming back to Meridian.

Weems, who served as head coach from 2005-2016 and led the Wildcats to a state championship in 2008, will serve as defensive coordinator this upcoming season.

Meridian head coach John Douglass confirmed the news and said Weems was approved by the school board in March.

"As soon as they let us get back to work were going to start implementing his defense and defensive philosophies," Douglass said. "Larry has coached on the offensive side recently but he was defensive coordinator for Meridian at one point for a very long time."

During his 10 seasons as head coach of Meridian, Weems compiled a 107-31 overall record and 19-9 postseason record.

Weems left Meridian in 2015 to head coach at Jackson Academy, where he has been since.

Weems and Douglass coached together at Meridian in the late 90's under former Head Coach Mac Barnes. Douglass also coached under Weems at Pearl for six seasons.

“Larry and I have had a relationship of some sort for a very long time," Douglass said. "Larry is someone I've talked to multiple times a week over the last 10-20, 30 years."

While both coaches had talked about joining forces together again from time to time, the conversation became more realistic at the end of this past season.

"The conversation has always been going on but it didn’t really get serious until the end of this past year around like November, December," Douglass said. "Larry said he wanted to get back over this way so that spurred the conversation to a more serious direction.

Meridian has gone 23-28 since Weems' departure after the 2015 season. Calvin Hampton was hired as Weems' replacement, spending three years at Meridian from 2016-18 before taking the head coaching job at Southeast Lauderdale.

The Wildcats went 2-10 the past season in Douglass' first year as head coach.

Douglass believes Weems' coaching mindset and credibility in the community will help Meridian immensely this upcoming season.

“Having a coach with that much experience is great because there’s not a whole lot he hasn’t seen whether it’s the offensive side or the defensive side. He’s seen a lot and he knows a lot but in addition to that, he’s obviously very respected here in Meridian," Douglass explained. "There’s a lot of guys on our team now whose brothers, uncles and dads played for Larry so he brings instant credibility as a coach. There’s going to be a lot of people when they hear he’s defensive coordinator saying ‘hey he knows what he’s doing’. That’s a plus and that’s definitely something we need as a team."

Former Northeast Lauderdale head coach Glenn Sanders will also join Douglass' staff as offensive coordinator