By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Tupelo High School principal Jason Harris believes the Golden Wave football program is on the verge becoming a contender.
The second-year THS official saw this season’s team lead eventual 6A state champion South Panola in the first half. He watched the underdog Golden Wave rally from a three-touchdown deficit to nearly upset powerful Olive Branch.
“It’s there. It’s time to take it to the next level,” said Harris, a member of the search committee formed to find a replacement for retired head football coach and assistant athletics director David Bradberry.
“I firmly believe Tupelo High School should be in the (football) playoffs every year. I think we’ve recommended someone who can do that.”
Harris and the committee members – Tupelo superintendent of schools Gearl Loden, assistant superintendent Matthew Dillion and THS athletics director Danny Porter – will present their candidate’s name to the school board today for approval in a special called meeting at the THS Performing Arts Center.
The meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. The new coach, if approved, is scheduled to meet the media and public at 3:45 in the Performing Arts Center.
Looking for energy
“We were looking for someone who was energetic and ready to come in,” Harris said. “I think David Bradberry did an excellent job taking the program from where he inherited it.”
Tupelo, which finished 4-7 this season, reached the postseason under Bradberry in 2010 and ‘11.
Loden, the system’s first-year superintendent, said there was a “high level of interest” in the opening. The search committee conducted nine formal interviews with the candidates, he said.
“The committee wanted someone who was good with Xs and Os, but also someone who would get people excited about football,” Loden said.
Tupelo’s lone state championship football team celebrated its 20th anniversary this season. James Sloan coached the 1992 5A state title team.