Ray Westerfield ready to put Kemper County football back on the map
Former Kemper County Wildcat Ray Westerfield is excited to come back home and be the head football coach at Kemper County High School.
“It’s special because I feel over the years I spent a lot of time in neighboring schools and neighboring communities making their kids and communities great,” Westerfield said. “It’s just a great feeling being able to come back home and do that for my people.”
Westerfield was originally supposed to take over as head coach after spring break but that didn’t happen because of the coronavirus pandemic. He said the coronavirus has made some things difficult as a new coach.
“It made it more difficult for me because I was supposed to start right after spring break but we never came back to school,” Westerfield said. “As far as me getting the chance to know my players and know their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes and meet their parents. I haven’t got that chance yet.”
Westerfield graduated from Kemper County in 2006 where he went on to play college football at East Mississippi Community College. After his playing career was over he came back to Kemper County in 2009 as an assistant coach under Darryl Carter.
In 2012, Westerfield stepped away from football and moved to Virginia to help people as he worked in the mental health field. In 2016, he felt the itch to get back into coaching and reached out to coach Chris Jones who was the head coach at the time at Kemper County about joining his staff. Jones hired him to his staff and in 2016 Kemper County won the MHSAA 3A State Championship.
Westerfield wants the athletes and community to know that he is there for the kids first but he is also trying to build the Kemper County football program into a state known brand.
“First and foremost I’m for the kids. I want to see kids be successful by any means,” Westerfield said. “I want the people of Kemper County to know I’m not trying to build a good football team. I'm trying to build a brand that's not just known here in our area but known in the state.”
Kemper County will begin offseason works on June 1.