Sports column: Lacey’s head coaching opportunity was well-earned

Published 11:05 am Sunday, February 19, 2023

In any line of work, there are people you’re happy to see leave.

Of course, most of them you won’t miss. The special few are the ones you do. Christopher Lacey certainly falls into the latter category.

Lacey has been on Vicksburg High’s football staff for the past five years. He started with the middle school team, and worked his way up to become the high school’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. This past week he was hired as the head coach at Forest High School.

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It’d be easy to say it’s an opportunity Lacey deserved, but nobody deserves anything. This is an opportunity Lacey earned through hard work, a laser-sharp focus on his goals, and a willingness to make short-term sacrifices to achieve long-term success.

For the past five years, Lacey carefully learned the craft of coaching not only from his peers but wherever else he could.

He devoured game film looking for an edge against his opponents. He attended clinics to learn new plays and schemes, as well as the process of coaching — how to better run practices and a program, and lead young men.

A former defensive back, he even conducted his own skills clinics and gave lessons. One of his students, Philadelphia Eagles running back and Yazoo City native Kenneth Gainwell, played in Super Bowl LVII last week.

The phrase “student of the game” is a cliche, but it fits Lacey perfectly. Brick by brick, he built a foundation to become a better coach and man, and to succeed when it was finally time to leave the nest and lead his own program.

We should all be happy to see Lacey rewarded for that. The bad part, of course, is that we also have to say goodbye to him as we lose a valuable member of the community.

Lacey is a Vicksburg guy. He graduated from Warren Central and spent five of his six years in the coaching profession in Vicksburg High’s program. He knows this city, its people and its families, and what makes them tick.

He’s certainly not alone in that regard, nor in his knowledge and passion for their respective sports.We’re blessed in Warren County to have a number of coaches who are from here, or who have been here long enough, to understand those same dynamics and who help their players on a personal as well as an athletic level.

We can always use one more, though. So while we’re happy — for the right reasons — to see Lacey leave for greener pastures, we can also be a little sad that he’s heading to them. He’s helped make Vicksburg High a better football team and Vicksburg a better place, and I’m sure he’ll do the same in Forest. Hopefully one day soon he’ll bring his new team in for a Red Carpet Bowl or non-region game that also serves as a family reunion.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor at The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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