Dillon arrives at Natchez High

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 30, 1999

The road was bumpy and long but Bill Dillon has returned to the Magnolia state.

The long road back meant a bouncy ride in a Ryder truck from Albany, N.Y. to Natchez but Dillon endured.

Dillon has followed his love of soccer back to the state of Mississippi to become soccer coach at Natchez High school.

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Dillon coached at small private academy, Doan Stuart, near Albany, N.Y.

This isn’t Dillon’s first encounter in Mississippi. Dillon graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Master’s degree HPR in 1995.

Dillon’s friend, Tony Johnson, is football coach at Pine Hills Academy and informed his college friend about the opening.

&uot;Bill showed interest in the head varsity soccer and assistant baseball coach position,&uot; Gil Morris said. &uot;We are tickled to have him here.&uot;

Dillon chose USM because he wanted to go to school somewhere other than New York. His final two choices were Richmond and USM. The Golden Eagles won out with Dillon. &uot;It was the best time I ever had,&uot; Dillon said.

Facing Dillon is the task of teaching soccer to children who aren’t too familiar with the game.

The varsity program Dillon coached in at New York was small. Dillon thinks this will help him as a coach in Natchez.

&uot;We will make do with what we have,&uot; Dillon said. &uot;I&160;haven’t met the team yet so it is hard to predict the talent level.&uot;

The spring sign up period netted 41 potential players. If the numbers allow, Dillon wants to have a girls team and a boys team. &uot;I’d like to keep the interest that is already there,&uot; Dillon said.

Dillon said the soccer program will help athletes from other sports too. Many kickers for football teams come from the soccer program.

The season allows for another sport for those who don’t play the usual organized sports.

Tryouts start during the last week of September. Soccer practice will start in October. Dillon’s first game coaching the Natchez Bulldogs is November 9. The season will run through February.

&uot;This year we are going to go out and have some fun with the game,&uot; Dillon said. &uot;It will be a bare bones approach and will not get as technical as I&160;could. I usually have a defensive approach to the game which will be easier to teach.&uot;

&uot;The Women’s World Cup probably has spurred more attention from the girls than boys in the world of soccer,&uot; Dillon said.

Dillon looks forward to a home and home series scheduled with Cathedral. &uot;They are probably further along than we are at this moment. I know this is a first year program and we will take our share of licks. Hopefully, we will surprise a few people too.

Dillon likes what he sees in the children of Natchez. &uot;They are in good shape,&uot; Dillon said. &uot;Up north, the kids are inside so much. They really don’t get to exercise like kids in the south. You don’t see the number of overweight children down here.&uot;