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Leadership gives Rushing early success

Cathedral High School head football coach Ron Rushing, center, talks to his team Tuesday afternoon after their summer workout in the school’s weight room. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Ron Rushing’s success in his first two years as head football coach at Cathedral High School comes down to a few simple things, according to Cathedral athletic director Craig Beesley.

“He’s a good motivator, he teaches discipline, the kids respect him and they play hard for him,” Beesley said.

After Beesley took over as athletic director two years ago, he hired Rushing as head football coach so Beesley could focus on running an athletic department and coaching baseball.

Rushing was an assistant under Beesley in 2009 when Beesley was head football coach. After Rushing took the reigns, he went a combined 22-5 in two seasons as head coach with two regional championships and one South State title game berth. His success has not gone unnoticed by Beesley and others.

“We knew the program would be in good hands, and he kind of hit the ground running,” Beesley said.

Rushing was quick to credit those around him when reflecting on the success he’s had in his first two years.

“I’ve had some good athletes, and I’ve had some good guys on staff that work hard and put in the time,” Rushing said. “Caleb Upton also had a lot to do with it. When you have a good quarterback who can get athletes the ball, it allows you to do a lot of different things.”

Rushing also said the Cathedral administration has been generous since he took over the football program.

“They’ve given me everything I’ve asked for,” Rushing said. “These first two years, I couldn’t have scripted things any better.”

With summer workouts under way, Rushing will look to once again build on the success his team has had in his first two years as head coach.

“Summer workouts have gotten better each year, so good workouts are kind of expected now,” Rushing said. “We’ve also had great leadership each year from the older players stepping up.”

Offensively, without Upton on hand, Beesley said Rushing would likely have to change the look of his offense a little bit.

“Instead of being predominantly a passing team, he might have to go to more of a balanced system,” Beesley said.

But if there’s any area that has allowed Rushing to excel as a coach, it’s teaching offense. Rushing coached under David King on two separate occasions while King was at Trinity, and King said he could tell that Rushing’s offensive understanding was sharp.

“Ron has a very good offensive mind,” King said. “He studies the game very well. He’s had some good skill players the last few years, and he’s put them in spots they needed to be in. He’s good at recognizing and utilizing talent.”

King also said Rushing has several other intangible qualities that make him a strong coach.

“He has a lot of character,” King said. “He was like a little brother to me when we were in school together (at ACCS), and he was always just very pleasant to be around. He has a pleasant personality, and he’s just a ball of energy.”

Rushing said he was able to learn some things from King while coaching under him.

“His work ethic is the main thing, especially what they do in the summer,” Rushing said. “David’s one of the best there is at developing talent, and I kind of brought that work ethic over here.”