Centreville Academy head coach Bill Hurst gives the team a few words of wisdom during a timeout in the game against Trinity Friday night. Hurst, who underwent heart surgery in July and was supposed to be resting, offered advice to players and coaches during the game. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

Friday in review: Despite orders to rest, Hurst remains active with Centreville

Published 12:54am Monday, August 27, 2012

NATCHEZ — In theory, Centreville head coach Bill Hurst is supposed to be taking some time away from football to recover from the heart surgery he had in July.

But in reality, the man at the helm of the Tigers’ football program for the past 30 years was still a presence Friday night at Trinity Episcopal Day School.

Hurst watched the game between his Tigers and the Saints from the sidelines, mostly letting his assistant coaches, Robbie Isonhood and Brian Stutzman, run the show. But at times, Hurst would let himself be heard during the action.

“I just call a few plays every now and then,” he said. “Sometimes they work and sometimes not.”

Hurst has not been cleared to return to practice yet, and most of his work gets done at home during the week, he said.

“I am doing the defense every week and get all the formations right during the week,” he said. “I am just gradually trying to get back into it. Hopefully I can start coming to practice in the next couple of weeks.”

Hurst said his assistant coaches have made the transition smooth for him and the Tiger players.

“It just works naturally,” he said.

But he said he is ready to get back to the sidelines and take on his full role.

“I do miss it,” he said. “I miss being around the kids. I miss headmaster duties too, and being with the teachers and kids.”

For someone with as much history on the field as Hurst, it’s simply hard to stay away. Adams County Christian School head coach David King, also a longtime area coach, said he could relate to Hurst’s frustration at staying off the field.

“It’d be awful hard to, but I know those boys are full of spirit when he gets there,” King said. “I’m so thankful he’s just in the shape he’s in. I talk to him almost every day, and he’s getting better each day.”

Although Hurst was not nearly as vocal as normal on the sidelines, he still was front and center in team meetings before the game, at halftime and after the Tigers wrapped up their 37-6 victory.

Hurst said he thought Centreville played well on defense but had too many mistakes in the first half on offense.

Like his football team, Hurst said he is still working every week to get better.

“I am coming along,” he said. “Last week was pretty good, and it will be seven weeks (since the surgery) this week.”

King said he’s hopeful Hurst will be on the sidelines again when the Rebels travel to Centreville Sept. 28.

“I bet you he’ll be back by then,” King said. “He’s one of my best friends, and we always have some great battles.”

Hurst said there is still no timetable for his return, but he knows it is getting closer. Centerville (2-0) will take on Parklane Academy Friday.