Thursday, May 17, 2007
New coach leads MA in spring
By BARRY BURLESON
Keith Wicker brings 25 years coaching experience in the Mississippi Private School Association to his new job at Marshall Academy.
He was recently hired as head football coach at MA after serving one year as an assistant at the school. He is conducting spring drills which will culminate with a spring jamboree matchup versus Clarksdale Lee Saturday at 1 p.m. at North Delta.
“This is a job I really wanted,” Wicker said. “We have a good group of kids coming back and I have high expectations.
“They are getting to know me as a head coach. Anytime a new coach comes in, you have to gain the respect of the kids. They have to believe in what you’re doing, and I believe the kids are excited.”
Wicker has coached four years at Amite School Center in Liberty, 16 years at Centerville Academy and four years at Prentiss Christian. He was head coach at Prentiss.
He left during his second stint as an assistant coach at Centerville to move he and his wife Jane to Oxford where their three sons live. Trey, Kyle and Britt all played football at Ole Miss - all three on the same team in 1995.
“I have seven grandchildren under 6 years old,” Wicker said with a smile. “That’s why I’m in Oxford.”
He was hired in the spring of 2006 by new Marshall headmaster Jane Hubbard and worked one year as an assistant under former head coach Wade Griffin.
“I knew her (Hubbard) since she was at Simpson,” Wicker said. “We played them when I was at Centerville.”
Hubbard said Wicker is a great asset to Marshall Academy.
“I have known Coach Wicker for several years through my work with the MPSA,” she said. “I’m so excited to have him as a member of the staff at MA.
“When this position became available, I was thrilled that he agreed to accept the role as head coach. He’s a fine coach and a fine man.”
Wicker is busy in spring workouts putting in new offensive and defensive packages.
“The kids are buying into the system,” he said. “We have a lot of talent, and we plan to use all of it.”
He said he is also encouraged by the number of new players out for football this spring.
“They can help us,” he said.
Several key players are not participating in the drills due to injuries.
MA will be stepping into a new District 1AA alignment next season. District foes are Lee (Ark)., Kirk, Indianola, Lee (Clarksdale) and Carroll. Kirk was the state runner-up last season and Lee (Clarksdale) and Indianola were playoff teams.
“There are some really good football teams in our district,” Wicker said. “Our kids know our goals, and we will work hard to achieve them.”
The Patriots will open the season with two district contests. The 2007 schedule includes:
• Aug. 24, Lee (Ark.), home;
• Aug. 31, Kirk, away;
• Sept. 7, Magnolia Heights, home;
• Sept. 14, Indianola, away;
• Sept. 21, North Delta, away;
• Sept. 28, Heritage, home;
• Oct. 5, Lee (Miss.), home;
• Oct. 12, W. Memphis, away;
• Oct. 19, Delta, away;
• Oct. 26, Carroll, home;
• Nov. 2, open date.
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