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WC hires Wilson to replace Duett

[05/02/01] A Brookhaven coach who has won two-thirds of his games and led teams to the Mississippi Coliseum three times, has been hired to lead Warren Central next year.

Preston Wilson, 33, was voted in unanimously by the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees during a special session on Tuesday. Wilson said he plans to hit the ground running.

“I’m excited,” said Wilson, who beat out two others who interviewed. “They have a big selection of athletes and I want to get the athletes in the program and get moving in the right direction.”

John Duett, who coached WC for eight seasons, resigned his position in February to spend more time with his family.

Wilson, who played baseball at Louisiana Tech, has been at Brookhaven for the past six seasons. In that time, he has led the Panthers to a 149-51 record, three division titles and three trips to the Coliseum for the state playoffs.

WC’s boys haven’t been to the state tournament since the early 1970s.

“It was tough (to leave),” Wilson said. “They are a good group of people, but it’s time for a change.”

Wilson said his desire to be closer to his family in Gibsland, La., about 40 miles West of Ruston, played a big part in his decision.

He helped lead Gibsland-Coleman High to a pair of state championships in the 1980s, but opted to pursue baseball at Louisiana Tech.

But basketball was his “first love.”

After graduating, Wilson went to Crystal Springs, then moved to Brookhaven for one season as an assistant, then as head coach.

“I was very impressed with Preston Wilson,” VWSD Superintendent Donald Oakes said. “He’s an energetic young man and I think he’ll do a good job for us.”

Wilson said he hopes to meet with his team and set up some summer activities in preparation for his first season. He said he will install his style from Brookhaven.

“We like to play full-court style basketball, a full-court press and a motion offense,” Wilson said. “We also like to run the break, but with discipline.”

At WC, he will inherit a team that went 14-14 a season ago, but must deal with the loss of six seniors. The Vikings won six of their last eight regular-season games in 2000-01 before being eliminated by Greenville in the first round of the Division 3-5A Tournament.

With division realignment, the Vikings will be in the same division this year as Clinton, Vicksburg and Natchez. Wilson believes his team will be ready.

“I look forward to the challenge of restoring the Warren Central program,” Wilson said. “I like to see all the sports successful, and I hope the coaches work with me and the players to get where we want to go.”