Knox: Stevens to be Gators’ next coach

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2001

[04/18/01] Alonzo Stevens has been offered the head coaching job at Vicksburg High, his former boss said Tuesday, but school administrators are still being tight-lipped about the decision.

“I’ve heard that Alonzo will be the next head coach,” said James Knox, who is retiring after 12 years as the Gators’ head coach. “After the school board meeting (Thursday), it’s supposed to be official.”

Stevens, who has been an assistant at VHS for a total of 18 years, said he could not comment.

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But Knox, who coached at VHS for 30 years, said he was relieved that a member of his staff was getting the job.

“As long as they keep it in-house and don’t put too many stipulations on him, he’ll do fine,” he said without elaborating. “If he’s going to be head coach, they need to let him make his own decisions.”

Spring football starts Monday. Officials have said a new coach would be introduced at Thursday’s board meeting.

“You can’t wait until August to get ready to play,” Knox said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids that need leadership. They’re hungry.”

Stevens, 48, returned to VHS three years ago after serving seven years as offensive line coach at Alcorn State. He was defensive coordinator at VHS during his eight-year stint before going to Alcorn.

Stevens was one of five finalists for the position, along with Provine’s Willie Collins, Columbus’ Roy McCrory, Velma Jackson’s Willie Young and Jim Hill’s Darryl Jones. Collins, citing family reasons, is the only one who has said he turned down the job.

“It was just a bad time,” he said last week. “I just hate to move my son. He wants to stay at Provine for his senior year.”

Monte Collins is a 6-foot-7, 350-pound lineman for the Rams who is being looked at by several Division I schools.

“The money was negotiable, so that wasn’t the problem,” Willie Collins added. “If it would have been next year, it wouldn’t have been any problem.”

McCrory and Young both said they had been offered the job. Neither accepted, but both said they had not withdrawn from consideration.

“If they’d give me what I want, I’d love to come there,” McCrory said.

Young went to Decatur, Ga., late last week and “somewhere in Louisiana” on Monday to interview for other jobs.

“I’m definitely still interested,” in VHS, he said. “I’d like to have it …

“I’ve just got some concerns, things that I would like to have in place,” he said, declining to elaborate.

“I just called back to get some clarifications on a few things. I’m standing by.”

Vicksburg Warren athletics director Lum Wright Jr. said Tuesday that he wasn’t aware if the job had been filled.

Wright and VHS principal Don Taylor have said that a new coach would be presented at the Thursday school board meeting.

“There’s no question (Stevens) can do the job, if he’s left alone,” Knox said.

Knox said that Stevens encouraged him back when he decided to apply for the job in 1989.

“If he needs me, I’ll be there for him if he needs anything,” he said.