By Tim Tutor/Pontotoc Progress
The recommendation to the Pontotoc County School Board from the South Pontotoc School administrators involved in the process of putting into place a new head coach for the 2011-2012 Cougar football team found it’s way to the board members recently, and on Monday night, as expected, 13-year Cougar coaching veteran Roger Chism was approved to officially take the helm.
Chism, who took over the duties of head coach at South Pontotoc after then head coach Mark Bray turned in his resignation to the board on September, 20, 2010, immediately added three straight wins over Mantachie (45-40), Mooreville (28-24) and Nettleton (41-34). South Pontotoc’s record at that point went from 1-4 to 4-4, and the Cougars finished the season with an appearance in the post season.
Chism, a graduate of South Pontotoc and Delta State University, was serving as the teams’ defensive coordinator when called up in the middle of last season.
“Roger will do a wonderful job,” said South Pontotoc High Principal Tim West. “Roger’s got the experience. He’s been the assistant Athletic Director for most of the years he’s been at South Pontotoc, and I was really pleased with the way he stepped in last year.
“He will have a good rapport with the kids, parents and coaches. I look for it to be a good situation for South.”
“It just happened to work out. Just one of those things,” said Cougar head coach Roger Chism. “It was the right time and all for me to do it.
“Our kids just need some consistency. They’ve had, what, three head coaches in four years … something like that.
“I’ve got a good staff, that’s a good thing. There is not any coaching changes so you know what you’re getting. The kids know us and we know the kids.”
A new coach from outside the system, most likely, would have brought several changes for everyone to get used to.
“We won’t go in and try to overhaul everything and throw a bunch of new stuff on the team. It will be a gradual change. It’s easier to do it that way, and that’s what we’re looking to do on both offense and defense.
“There’s not going to be a big change for anybody.”
With possibly the exception of Aberdeen, the new Region 2-3A slate in football for South Pontotoc looks pretty favorable to Coach Chism.
“The division has gotten a lot better for us in football especially. With Mantachie coming in … to go with Mooreville and Nettleton … teams we can compete with. That’s a big thing.”
Along with being the defensive coordinator of the football program, the 51-year-old Chism has also been the ninth grade coach, and has taught Middle School P.E.
Before coming to South Pontotoc, he coached at Marks (1982-1983), Houston High School (1983-1989) and West Lauderdale (1989-1998). The new South Pontotoc head football coach will be entering his 30th season overall.
Coach Chism and his wife Denise have two children, Brooke and Jason.