Dwight Bowling will plead guilty

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

SMITHVILLE – Coaching icon Dwight Bowling will plead guilty to one or more counts involving sex with minors, court records show.

Bowling, 53, of Smithville is scheduled to enter his plea Wednesday at 11 a.m. in U.S. District Court in Greenville.

In the face of federal and state charges, he may spend the rest of his life behind bars.

His trial was scheduled to begin May 9.

Bowling was indicted by a federal grand jury in mid-September on five counts – four that he transported minors across state lines for sex and the other that he tried to convince one of them, now an adult, not to tell investigators about their relationship.

He has been held in the Lafayette County Detention Center nearly all the time since then.

Bowling also faces similar charges brought by grand juries in Monroe and Itawamba counties.

The District Attorney’s Office could not be contacted immediately for reaction to his federal plea or to say if that affects the state prosecutions.

Bowling was once one of the region’s top high school football coaches. He boasted championship teams during his 28 years in Smithville, then retired and took a similar post at Sulligent High School in Alabama.

He was on his way home from a Sulligent football game when he was arrested by federal authorities.

April 22, federal prosecutors gave notice that they planned to present graphic testimony and other evidence against him.

Alabama prosecutors said months ago that they planned to file similar charges against Bowling but no announcements have come from there.