Choctaw Central's Coats has tough road ahead
By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
July 30, 2003
CHOCTAW With the hiring of Willie "Tennie" Coats as head coach just a little over two weeks before the fall practices for the 2003 football season begin, the Choctaw Central Warriors are firmly behind the eight ball.
Coats, an assistant on last year's 3-7 Choctaw Central squad, has performed miracles before. Most notable was his resurrection of the East Central Community College program in the mid-1990s.
Taking over an ECCC program that went 4-25-1 from 1992-94, Coats' Warriors went 2-8 in 1995 before going 10-1 in 1996 and 7-3 in 1997.
Coats was an assistant to Tommy McCool for the 2002 season. McCool, the second-winningest football coach at CCHS with a 63-43 mark from 1993-2002, was not rehired after the Warriors finished 3-7 last fall.
Coats is a member of the University of Southern Mississippi's Athletic Hall of Fame. He has been head coach at Clara, Seminary, Lumberton, East Central Community College (as an assistant), Decatur, Quitman, Delta State University (as an assistant), Hattiesburg, Pearl River Community College, East Central, Newton County Academy, and Choctaw Central (as an assistant). He also had a one-year stint with the semipro Mississippi Pride as an assistant.
The Warriors open their 2003 season at home against Philadelphia on Aug. 29. The Tornadoes have won the last six games in the series to grab a 10-3 advantage.
Choctaw Central travels to Kemper County on Sept. 5. The Warriors have won all six previous games in the series.
The Warriors host Cherokee, N.C., on Sept. 13 in the eighth Battle of the Nations. Cherokee won last year's meeting 34-0 in North Carolina, leaving the Warriors looking for payback in this year's Saturday night matchup. Cherokee has a 5-2 lead in the series which began in 1991.
The Warriors begin Division 5-3A play on Sept. 19 at West Lauderdale. After winning a 35-28 thriller at Collinsville last year, the Knights hold a 4-1 lead in the series.
Choctaw Central travels to Morton on Sept. 26 for the first meeting between the two schools.
League play continues on Oct. 3 as the Warriors host Carthage. Choctaw hammered Carthage 27-7 in 2002 to trim the Tigers' series advantage to 9-4.
Southeast Lauderdale visits Choctaw Central on Oct. 10. The Warriors beat the Tigers 21-14 last year to take a 4-0 lead in the series.
The Warriors go to Raleigh on Oct. 17 for a non-division contest. It will be the first meeting between the two.
On Oct. 24, the Warriors host Forest in another series debut.
Choctaw Central closes out its season on Oct. 31 at Newton County. The Cougars are 4-0 against the Warriors after last year's 41-0 blanking.