Natchez duo to lead Bulldogs

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 30, 2000

Dr. Wayne Barnett remembers the days when South Natchez and North Natchez were among the top four sports programs in their class in the state.

Now as Director of Student Services at Natchez High, Barnett is hoping to return Natchez to those days.

Barnett was recently named to that position to replace Gill Morris, who accepted the position of head baseball coach at Adams County Christian School last month.

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Robert Cade, who assisted with football and basketball in his first year at Natchez High last year, is the assistant athletic director.

Cade will assist with football and basketball this year before devoting all his time to his new job.

&uot;I think Gill Morris did a great job in putting together the athletic program and we’re going to miss him,&uot;&160;said Natchez School Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis. &uot;I think Dr. Barnett and Coach Cade will pick up the ball and literally run with it. I’ve met with them a couple of times and we’re planning on some new things and continue on with other things we’ve developed.&uot;

Davis said Natchez is looking at the possibility of adding a volleyball team in the near future and a swimming team down the road.

&uot;We’re also looking at building tennis courts inthe future where the horse barns are that we acquired,&uot; Davis said.

Among notable improvements in the Natchez athletic department is the addition of a girls soccer team and another middle school football team beginning this fall, and continued work on the Natchez High Multi-Purpose Building, which is the former Natchez Convention Center.

&uot;We’re going to have the band hall

on one side and dressing room facilities on the other,&uot; said Barnett, whose office will be in the Multi-Purpose Building. &uot;The middle will have an open space which will be used for meetings, where the band can march, football team run plays on rainy days and the tennis team practice. I think the name is adequate.&uot;

Barnett his duties include putting an emphasis on school safety and improving extra-curricular activities at the school.

&uot;I think athletics are very important,&uot; Barnett said. &uot;I think kids who are involved in extra-curricular activities do better in school and stay in school. I encourage coaches, band directors, choir directors, and everyone to get students involved.&uot;

Barnett taught for three years before serving as assistant principal at North Natchez for 16 years. When North Natchez and South Natchez consolidated, Barnett was named as a principal at Natchez High. He then spent six years as principal of Natchez School before serving two more years as principal at Natchez High.

Barnett was Coordinator of Secondary Curriculum and Instuction at the Natchez Alternative School before taking on his current job.

Barnett said he is pleased and impressed with the current Natchez High coaching staff.

&uot;We have an excellent coaching staff,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve got good people who are good role models. We’re here to build character and encourage children to stay in school.&uot;

Barnett said each coach will be evaluated at the end of each school year.

&uot;That’s in the school handbook,&uot; he said.

And that includes himself.

&uot;I’m excited about this new challenge and new opportunity to make a difference in a different way,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve worked with some outstanding coaches in the past and learned a lot from them. I’m looking forward to being involved with the programs again.&uot;

Cade joined Natchez High after serving as assistant football and head boys basketball coach at Ferriday High for several years.

&uot;I’m excited about my new position,&uot; Cade said. &uot;It’s something different, and at the same time, it’s not. In Louisiana, I had to be you had to be like an athletic director when it came to your own sport. You had to make sure the paperwork was done. I think the most rewarding part is going to be intermingling with the rest of the coaches and making sure they have what they need in order to be successful. We just want to put the best quality product on the field or court.&uot;

Cade said he really doesn’t know if he will miss coaching down the road.

&uot;It’s like everything else, I’ll just have to wait and see,&uot; he said. &uot;But I’m excited about doing something positive for my hometown. I love interacting with people.&uot;