Natchez agrees to discuss contract with Denson

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 18, 2001

The Bulldogs are a step closer to having a new head football coach.

The Natchez-Adams District School Board Thursday approved the recommendation of a committee of educators and members of the community to enter contract negotiations with Rolling Fork High School coach James Denson.

Being chosen by the Natchez community was flattering, but Denson said it doesn’t add any further pressure on him to perform.

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&uot;One of the main reasons I’m interested in this job is to come there and produce a winning program,&uot; he said. &uot;The only pressure comes from losing.&uot;

And losing is something Denson doesn’t often do. His 35-year lifetime record as a head coach is 248-110-4.

But his association with football began well before his coaching career. A Jackson native, Denson played quarterback at Sumner Hill, where his coach there inspired his current career.

&uot;I was inspired by the way he handled the job, the way he carried himself,&uot; Denson said. &uot;I liked his business-like approach.&uot;

After playing quarterback at Mississippi Valley State University, Denson began coaching high school football. After 35 years in 3A ball, he said he is eager to graduate to a 5A school.

&uot;As far as enrollment goes, Natchez in one of the 10 largest schools in the state,&uot; Denson said. &uot;It will be a challenge.&uot;

He doesn’t plan on facing that challenge alone. Denson hopes to bring assistant coach Mike Hall – Rolling Forks’ offensive and defensive backs coach of four years – with him to Natchez.

Denson said he doesn’t yet know where Hall will fit in with the existing coaching staff. &uot;It will depend on what we have and what we have left,&uot; he said.

Despite playing quarterback, Denson said he focuses more on defense as a coach.

&uot;But working as a head coach at the 3A level, you have to deal with it all,&uot; he said.

The district will now discuss salary and contract terms with Denson. He is still technically under contract with Rolling Forks, but said he doesn’t foresee any problems being released.

&uot;I’m optimistic,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve been keeping them abreast of everything. There have been no secrets.&uot;

Denson is married to Beatrice Rebecca Denson and has a grown son, Reginald Bonzell.