SportsDeck Spotlight: JPS Coaching Turnover

SportsDeck Spotlight: JPS Coaching Turnover

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Joel Sinclair enters his fourth season as head coach at Wingfield, more than enough to make him dean of JPS coaches.

Sinclair admits he's heard it before.

Three of the seven head coaches in the district are in their second season at their respective schools, and there more are in their very first season. Two are their program's third head coach in as many years, including Forest Hill's Jeremy Jones.

"It's tough on them," says Jones. "Tough on them cause you've got three different philosophies that's going on, especially the seniors class. They've been through three different reigns."

Tim Wilson is the third head man at Provine since 2016. Luckily, he's been around the program as a Ram assistant coach.

"It was just changing of the guard, basically," says Wilson. "They adjusted to it. Pretty much the same thing that's going on, with a little tweak here and there, but things still the same."

Priest Crockett returns for a second season as head coach at Jim Hill. He recalls walking into the locker room his first day to meet a Tiger team on its third coach in three seasons.

Crockett says, "They're like, 'Not another head coach, again. How long is he going to stay? Do he know what he's talking about?' I can tell this year they're more enthusiastic about playing, and I can tell that they want to be here now."

Callaway is JPS' deepest program in terms of talent of late, even sending players to the NFL. But the Chargers are not immune to coaching turnover, despite all the talent. New head coach Chad Germany is the team's third in four years.

"Changes happens," says Germany. "Sometimes change is good. I think in this situation, the kids have adjusted to it and things are going in the right direction."

Lanier made the postseason for the first time in over a decade last year, and now returns head coach Michael Ashford. Ashford says he knows the value of stability.

"It goes a long way," says Ashford. "And the kids buy in to the system when they see all the coaches on one page."

Damien Gary is seeing an uptick in the number of players on the team in his second season at Murrah. But Gary can't help walking the halls of school everyday thinking he could have so many more.

"I think our starting offensive line is in the building," says Gary. "We probably have probably like ten, eleven 6'5" guys I probably see every day. And I beg them to play. But you know, I just don't think it's for them."

It's a situation not unique to Murrah.

Sinclair says, "Well some kids say, 'Not enough numbers, so I don't really want to play.' And others feel like, 'Well you know, y'all won't be any good.' The kids that stay and keep working, regardless of the numbers, they'll be better for it. These kids out here, they're doing things others won't."

There are signs of improvement inside the district in its shared athletic fields. Nearly $1,000,000 spent for a new turf field at Forest Hill that will be ready for play at month's end. Newell Field sits dormant this year, but money from the recently passed $65,000,000 bond referendum will go toward renovating the stadium.

Players within Jackson Public Schools don't focus on what they do not have.

"You have to work with what you have," says Jim Hill's Jacquel Honer.

"We try to focus on what we have and work on the positives, not so much the negative," says Wingfield's Desmond Tornes.

What the players don't lack? Confidence.

"Stop sleeping on us," says Provine's De'Monte Russell. "And just watch."

Murrah's Camden Watson says, "We coming hard this year."

"We've got something to prove," says Forest Hill's Christopher Hughes. "Y'all going to see."

"We don't get no type of hype, none of that," says Lanier's Jayvion Mayes. Mayes taps his shoulders pads and says, "He'll do the talking right here, man."

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