Fleming takes over as PCA football coach

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Porters Chapel Academy searched high and low for new football and baseball coaches. It ended up finding two that were right under its nose.

Bill Fleming, who has spent the past two years as PCA’s athletic director, has been named the school’s new head football coach. Doug Branning, PCA’s new headmaster and athletic director, will take over the baseball program in the spring. Both coaches replace Randy Wright, who retired in May after 13 seasons as PCA’s baseball coach and five years as its football coach.

Branning, who was also a member of the search committee to find Wright’s replacement, said about 10 people were interviewed for the two jobs. Ultimately, the committee and school board felt more comfortable with the in-house candidates than someone from the outside.

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“It was a combination of was it better than what we had in-house, some took other jobs, and some weren’t a good fit,” Branning said. “The search committee asked me to do it. I didn’t ask for the job. I’m a realist. I know there’s a point where you start to get stretched too thin.”

Branning added that he hopes to be just a stopgap.

Longtime assistant Chris Busby has been offered a deal to be an assistant head coach with the understanding that he will eventually take over as the full-time head coach. Busby, who applied for the head coaching position this time around, said he’s still considering the offer. Busby also serves as an assistant football coach.

“We have offered Chris Busby an assistant head coach position with a bump in pay. That’s a standing offer, with the idea that in a year or two we can hand it off to him,” Branning said.

Fleming has coached football at a half-dozen high schools in Mississippi, including Wayne County, Calhoun City and Bay St. Louis. His last head coaching gig was at Raymond High School from 2004-2005. He has been the coach of PCA’s peewee team for fifth- and sixth-graders the past two seasons.

After throwing his name into the mix for the varsity job, Fleming said PCA’s returning players voiced their support.

PCA only had eight varsity players returning from a team that went 13-1 and reached the MPSA Class A semifinals last season. Fleming said he expects six more players to transfer from Warren County’s public schools. Several others who didn’t play football last season are also expected to turn out, and a few more who were ninth- and 10th-graders last year will join the varsity this year. In all, Fleming said there are currently 22 players on the roster — enough to give the Eagles a solid chance to return to the postseason.


Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com