Marchant cheers on Temple, Vikings

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 11, 2001

Sam Temple, Warren Central’s coach, is congratulated by Bill Marchant, right, who coached him at Delta State. (The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[05/11/01] Warren Central coach Sam Temple was by Bill Marchant’s side in the biggest games he coached.

Friday, Marchant returned the favor. The former Delta State coach was on hand to see Temple’s Vikings beat Hattiesburg in the opening game of the Class 5A state championship series.

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“Sam was the hardest worker I ever had at Delta State,” said Marchant, who was 283-127-1 in eight seasons with the Statesmen.

Temple was a backup catcher at DSU in 1992 and 1993, but “he was a real student of the game,” Marchant said.

Marchant gave his star pupil an A’ for the job he’s done at WC.

“He’s done everything right,” Marchant said, adding that he’s not surprised Temple has transformed WC into a nationally ranked powerhouse in just his fifth season as a head coach. “Not only is he a great coach, but he’s a super human being.”

With Temple as a graduate assistant coach, Marchant led the Statesman to back-to-back NCAA Division II World Series in 1995 and 1996 before his career was cut short by an automobile wreck that left him confined to a wheelchair.

Marchant was also on hand for both of WC’s North State championship wins over Tupelo.

He recalled the first time he saw Temple coach. It was his number, not his style, that struck Marchant. Temple wears No. 22, the same number Marchant wore.

“They were playing in Greenville and it was kind of cold,” Marchant said. “When he took his jacket off, I saw what number he was wearing … It brought tears to my eyes when he told me why he wanted to wear it because of me.”

BP credits coach for preparation with BP

Marchant wasn’t the only one at Viking Field singing Temple’s praises Friday night.

Brian Pettway, who led the team with four hits, said Temple had “been throwing his guts out in batting practice” all week to get the team ready for Hattiesburg’s hard-throwing pitchers. The Tigers have three Division I signees who throw in the 90 mph range.

Temple threw from about halfway between the pitcher’s mound and home plate during practice to simulate their style.

“He was grunting while he was throwing … he could hardly pick his arm up,” Pettway said.

“He did that for us and it got us ready.”

Chris Hite, who added two hits from the No. 9 spot, said, “We were not intimidated.”