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Temple could be Clinton-bound

[06/06/01] Less than three weeks after leading Warren Central to its first state championship, coach Sam Temple has interviewed for the Clinton High baseball job.

His status is still in limbo.

Repeated attempts to reach the 30-year-old coach Wednesday morning were unsuccessful. Temple said on Tuesday he could not comment.

Vicksburg Warren athletic director Lum Wright Jr. said that Temple, as of Wednesday morning, is still the Vikings’ coach.

“Sam Temple has not given me anything,” Wright said when asked if he had received a resignation. “I do know that he has interviewed for the Clinton baseball job.”

Clinton High athletics director David Bradberry, a former assistant football coach at WC, would not say if Temple had been hired.

“We’re working on it every day,” Bradberry said. Asked for a timetable, Bradberry said, “It won’t be too long.”

Superintendent Tommye Henderson said the Clinton school board met Tuesday. Personnel matters were also discussed in executive session. She would not comment on what was discussed.

Phil Burchfield, Clinton High’s principal, said only that a meeting was held. The next school board meeting is set for Tuesday in Clinton, but it was unclear if Temple’s name will be on the agenda.

Hugh Christian led the Arrows to a 76-61 record in four seasons and finished second to Hattiesburg in the 1998 Class 5A state championship game. The Arrows, who were 15-17 this year, won state titles in 1990 and 1980.

In his five years at WC, Temple guided Warren Central to unprecedented success. From a 10-win first season as a 25-year-old rookie coach, Temple brought his teams to the playoffs each of the last four years.

During this year’s run, WC won eight straight games in the state playoffs and earned a No. 4 national ranking by USA Today, which was released Wednesday.

“Whenever you go through a season losing just three games and playing the schedule we played, it’s got to turn some people’s heads,” Temple said. “It’s all for the boys, though.”

Temple’s successes off the field have had an impact on the Vikings as well.

Since taking over the job, 11 of his players have gone, or are going on to play college baseball.

Three of the four seniors on this year’s team Kevin Coker, Taylor Tankersley and Brent Towne signed to play college. Coker and Tankersley will play Division I at Southern Mississippi and Alabama respectively.

Temple, a former catcher at Hinds Community College and Delta State, took over the program in 1996 and has amassed a 124-36 record including a pair of 30-win seasons.