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MHS assistant takes head job at Philadelphia

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
July 14, 2001
PHILADELPHIA Practice for the high school football season doesn't officially begin until Aug. 6.
But Friday, Marcus Wood was putting in a long day at his new coaches office here at Philadelphia High School. And he'll be putting in many more like it in the next three weeks.
Wood was named the new head coach at Philadelphia earlier this week, ending a brief search by Philly school officials after Steve Cheatham left the Tornado program a couple of weeks ago for a position at East Central Community College.
Wood, who was the defensive coordinator at Meridian High last fall, said the opportunity to join a tradition-rich program as the head coach lured him away from the Wildcat program.
Wood said he pursued one other head coaching position, but was prepared to resume his role at MHS until the Philly job came open.
The Tornadoes have traditionally been one of the state's top small-school powers. But Philly moves up to Class 3A this season, and the Tornadoes lost a host of seniors including a couple of Southeastern Conference signees off last year's 10-2 team.
Wood spent his football-playing days at Starkville High School, East Mississippi Community College and Georgetown, Ky., before finishing his education at Mississippi State.
He began his coaching career in 1996, when he instructed the wide receivers and running backs on a Holmes Community College team that reached the state title game. Wood was briefly a graduate assistant in the weight room at MSU, and coached running backs at EMCC in the fall of 1997.
He joined the MHS staff with head coach Bill Sartin in 1998 and coached linebackers and special teams for two seasons before taking the role of D-coordinator last year.
Rocky Higginbotham is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.