Always a Bulldog

Published 12:01 am Friday, August 19, 2011

Eric Shelton | The Natchez Democrat — Natchez High graduate assistant Kevotchie Pollard, left, talks to Jayvin Foster during football practice Wednesday afternoon at Natchez High’s practice field.

NATCHEZ — Kevotchie Pollard may not be good with numbers, but solving what he calls a “complex math problem” is what attracted him to football coaching.

And now, the former Natchez High School player and current student at Southern Mississippi will be spending his Friday nights this fall looking for a solution.

Pollard is helping coach the Bulldogs football team as a graduate assistant to prepare him for one day coaching at NHS full time. A history major, Pollard said he chose that field of study in order to prepare him for a career in teaching.

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“I want to come back to Natchez High to teach history, then I can coach once I get into the system,” Pollard said.

“I played my last football game in November 2009, and immediately after that I wanted to start coaching. I picked up on the game easily. To me, it’s like a big math problem. It’s complex, like a chess game, so it intrigues me.”

But that’s probably the closest he’ll ever get to dealing with math ever again, Pollard said.

“I had (head) coach (Lance) Reed as my math teacher for pre-calculus and trigonometry, and after I got out, I knew I’d never take another math class again,” Pollard said.

“I asked the coaches what it would take to coach, and they said I had to be able to teach something. I didn’t like numbers, and I knew in science numbers would come into play. I didn’t like English at all, but I did kind of like history.”

So Pollard picked his major, and with one year of college under his belt, he said he ready to coach full-time as soon as he can.

“Freshman year (at USM) was amazing,” Pollard said. “I can’t wait to start my sophomore year, but I also can’t wait to get out of college so I can start coaching. At the same time, though, I’m in no rush.”

When talking about his on-field duties as a coach, Pollard described them with a bit of humor.

“I coach the centers, I’m the assistant offensive line coach and the assistant-assistant offensive coordinator,” Pollard said.

Pollard said he likes to joke around a bit, but when he’s coaching, it’s all business.

“There’s a time and a place for everything,” he said. “Off the field, I’m nice to be around and I’m friendly, but on the field, I turn into a bad guy. Some of the guys will tell you that off the field, I’m a good guy to be around.”

Because of that, Pollard said his personality was sort of like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

“Yeah, that’s a good way to describe it,” Pollard said. “It’s like two sides.”

But Pollard admitted one time in high school he took the joking around thing a bit too far.

“I also did power lifting, and our coach, Joseph Johnson… I always knew he was a big guy, and kind of strong, and one day I pushed him to his limit,” Pollard said.

“I though he was really old, so he wasn’t going to do anything if I kept messing with him. So one day, he went over and picked up an orange cone, then he picked me up by my leg and held me upside down while he beat me with it.”

Johnson said he recalls the incident.

“Yes. Those were my younger days,” Johnson joked.

Pollard, however, said he learned a valuable lesson.

“Maybe I should keep my mouth shut,” Pollard said. “I never bothered him again.”

Even as a graduate assistant, though, Pollard still has a wide array of jokes to use, he said.

“Why did the chicken cross the road?” Pollard said. “Because it was standing next to Coach Woodard.”