Clay Tapped to lead Kemper County High School Football
Newly hired Kemper County High School head football coach William Clay is excited about the opportunity to head up his own program, build a strong relationship with the community, and return to his home stomping grounds.
Clay, a 2004 graduate of Noxubee County High School, has been an assistant for the last eight seasons at Laurel High School, a Class 5A school, and said the time was right for him to take the next step.
“It was just a great opportunity that presented itself and gets me back closer to home,” he said. “I know they have great athletes here and there is a chance to continue to build on some of their past successes.’
Clay, who was offensive coordinator for Laurel the past two seasons, said he met with the KCHS players on Friday and was excited about the response.
“We will spend some time just getting to know each other,” he said. “The first thing we have to do is get into the weight room and set the tone for the culture of the team. We will do more of the football stuff as we go along.”
Clay will be with the team during spring training, which he says his crucial. “That’s really when you get to know what you have,” he said.
Although Clay has spent most of his coaching career on the offensive side of the ball, being a coordinator and an offensive line coach, he says he understands defense as well. “If you are going to run an offense you have to understand defense,” he said.
Clay said he may be the offensive coordinator for KCHS, but if he finds the right candidates, he is more than willing to turn the coordinator duties over to others and be more of a game manager.
He said his long tenure at Laurel is an example of what has to happen to get buy-in from the community. “In the long run the majority of your program is going to come from the middle school,” he said. “You have to build relationships and tradition.”
The 36-year-old Clay is a graduate of East Mississippi Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi and has his Masters from William Carey University.
He said he is not concerned about making the step from 5A football to the smaller classification of 2A that Kemper County plays in.
“Football, is football said,” he said. “You need the athletes, but you have to put in the work in order to enjoy the fruits of your labor.”