Thursday, February 2, 2012
Jenkins steps up to MA head football coach
By BARRY BURLESON
Bart Jenkins couldn’t be happier.
Last week the 32-year-old was named the head football coach at Marshall Academy. He has been on staff the past two years as an assistant, running the defense. He also worked at MA in 2002-03.
“I’m absolutely in love with Marshall Academy,” Jenkins said. “I love everything about it – the kids, the teachers, the administrators – I’m really glad this has worked out the way it has.”
Jenkins is also the head baseball coach at MA and he will retain that position.
He played college football at Mississippi Delta Community College and he said he has learned from some of the best head coaches in the business. Just a few on the list are Leland Young at Bayou Academy, Jack French at Starkville Academy, Herbert Davis at Pillow Academy and Keith Wicker at Marshall.
“I was very, very fortunate to work with Coach Wicker a year,” Jenkins said. “There were a lot of similarities between Coach Wicker and Coach Young. What I truly like is they put the kids first and got response from the kids in a positive manner.
“I’ve been very, very lucky. Coach Wicker spent a lot of time with me. He wanted me to be a head football coach. In my time with him, I developed a passion, knowing this is what I wanted.”
He replaces Barrett Donahoe, who has accepted the head coaching position at Heritage Academy. He said he enjoyed the tremendous year with Donahoe. With Donahoe running the offense and Jenkins the defense, the Patriots finished 11-2 and lost in the final four of the playoffs.
Jenkins knows stepping up to the top football job at MA means more pressure.
“Fortunately, I have a good relationship with my players,” he said. “They know what I expect. I’m just extremely proud of this opportunity.”
Jenkins said his football coaching experience has been “overshadowed” due to the success of his baseball squads.
At age 24, he landed his first baseball head coaching position at Starkville Academy. In three seasons at Starkville and three at Pillow Academy, his teams won at least 20 games each year and made the playoffs, finishing as state runners-up twice. Last year the MA Patriots were eliminated in the semi-finals of the Class AA playoffs and finished 25-12.
“Because I’ve had good baseball players, I’ve been successful,” he said.
Jenkins is focused now on the 2012 baseball season, which begins in February.
But he will also be thinking about football, such as aligning a staff and off-season workouts.
Jenkins said the recent improvements at the fieldhouse are a huge benefit.
“A lot of work was poured into that by a lot of loyal Marshall Academy supporters,” he said. “We have to get bigger, get stronger and get faster, and the new weight facility will be a big-time advantage.”
MA is losing 11 seniors from last fall’s successful team.
“Our success next year is all going to depend on who decides to step up,” Jenkins said. “We have some good players returning, and our off-season work will be crucial. One thing about Marshall Academy, when there are question marks, the kids typically respond with a positive work ethic.”
Jenkins is originally from Moorhead. He is a 2000 graduate of Delta State University.
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