Weaver leaves Porters Chapel for Madison-Ridgeland Academy

Published 11:43 am Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Porters Chapel Academy is not looking only for a new baseball coach but a head football coach as well.

PCA headmaster Doug Branning said Tuesday that PCA football coach John Weaver resigned in order to accept an assistant coaching position at Madison-Ridgeland Academy. Weaver’s resignation comes a week after PCA baseball coach Jerry Bourne left for an assistant coaching position at Vicksburg High School.

Weaver said Tuesday the decision to leave PCA after just one year was for his family.

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“This was a we decision and not a me one,” Weaver said. “This is nothing against PCA, but my wife, Kristin, has a nursing position in the Jackson area, and this will work better for where we want to go as a family.”

Weaver went 5-6 in his one season at PCA, missing the MAIS Class A playoffs after a loss in the season’s final regular-season game at Newton County Academy. He had an experienced team coming back, but the lure of a better financial future at one of the state’s premier Class AAA schools was too good to pass up.

“I will always be grateful to Coach Branning for giving me a chance,” Weaver said. Branning hired Weaver as an assistant at Tallulah Academy in 2008, and named him as his successor after he left for PCA to take the headmaster position. Weaver went 7-5 in 2009 and took the Trojans to the Class A playoffs. When PCA athletic director Bill Fleming decided to cut back on his duties, Branning hired Weaver as PCA’s football coach.

Branning said moves by young coaches like Weaver and Bourne, who went 18-10 this spring, are to be expected.

“For both John and Jerry, the moves to bigger schools is a financial deal and you can’t blame them at all,” Branning said. “Both are going to places where there is more money and better benefits. We’re very grateful to both John and Jerry. They will do well for themselves. The tough thing for us is that we’re now in the market for both a head football coach and a head baseball coach.”

Branning said he has fielded a number of calls for Bourne’s position. He added that he got started on Weaver’s replacement Tuesday morning.

“Since about 7 o’clock this morning,” Branning said. “We got the listing posted on the (MAIS) website. I have a running list of prospects. It’ll be fine. I’ve had a little more time to deal with the baseball position. But now, with the football opening, I might be able to fill both spots with one person.”

Former PCA coach Randy Wright held both positions until his retirement in 2008. He led the Eagles to three state championships in baseball and a handful of state semifinal berths in football.

“It’s still too early to say what we will eventually do,” Branning said. “We feel we have several good candidates for the baseball position.”

Weaver said the new football coach will have a good team to lead this fall.

“They’re going to be good,” Weaver said of his Eagles. “They have a lot of good work ethic.”

For Weaver, going to work with one of the state’s top coaches was a big draw. Forest Williams, who led St. Stanislaus to the MHSAA Class 4A championship in 2009, was hired in February by MRA. Last year, MRA was 7-5 and made to the Class AAA finals, losing to Jackson Academy.

Weaver will coach on the offensive side of the ball for football and be MRA’s track coach.

Bourne spent Tuesday afternoon meeting the Vicksburg Gators.

“I got to meet the guys for the first time,” Bourne said. “I think it’s going to be a fun year and I’m looking forward to working with Coach (Ryan) Grey. He’s been around these guys for a couple of years and knows what they can do.”

Like Weaver, Bourne said he had to consider his family’s needs.

“The opportunity was there, and I too, had to think about what was best for my family,” Bourne said.

The Gators finished 13-14 this spring, dropping a bitter three-game series to South Panola in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Vicksburg opens its summer schedule Thursday in a tournament at Madison Central.