Thursday, January 26, 2012
Donahoe leaving MA for Heritage
By BARRY BURLESON
Barrett Donahoe said it was a job offer he could not turn down.
Marshall Academy’s head football coach is leaving after just one season in Holly Springs to take the same position at Heritage Academy in Columbus.
Marshall is a Class AA school in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools. Heritage is a member of the bigger Class AAA.
Donahoe, who is marrying Ryann Barker March 10, said the move is about financial stability and advancing his career. Both Donahoe and Barker are from Crystal Springs.
“Marshall Academy has been great to me,” he said. “I met with the kids (Tuesday of last week) and they responded well and respected my decision. They understand. It’s been wonderful. I appreciate everyone’s support here.”
In his only season at MA, the Patriots finished 11-2, the third most wins in school history. They lost 28-22 to River Oaks, La., in the final four of the state playoffs.
“I never thought I would be here a year and leave,” Donahoe said. “Sometimes opportunities come open at the wrong time.
“You always hope you left a lasting impression on the kids and the program. With a strong commitment from the parents, players and boosters, we put a lot into the program and the facilities this past year.”
The 32-year-old will take over a Heritage program that he said has struggled the past nine years. It had one championship appearance in 2005.
“There’s a tremendous challenge ahead to get the program where they want it to be,” Donahoe said. “It has to be a mindset – getting the kids to believe. As a coach, I look forward to the challenge.”
Headmaster at Heritage is Tommy Gunn, a former headmaster at Marshall. A formal announcement of Donahoe’s hiring was set for last Friday in Columbus.
Donahoe said he will finish out the school year at MA, teaching his classes and assisting with track and tennis. He will be going to Heritage in May for football spring training. He said he also has to assemble a staff.
Jane Hubbard, headmaster at Marshall, said Donahoe will be missed.
“We’re sad,” she said. “We enjoyed our time with him. He has been an asset to our school, and we wish him the best. I know he will do well.”
Hubbard said she will begin taking applications for the head football coaching position soon.
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