• 61°

Faircloth, who coached Vikings for total of 44 years, retires again

By TIM GUERCIO

THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT

VIDALIA — Vidalia High School head football coach Dee Faircloth retired from his head coaching position effective May 31.

The resignation was prompted after the Louisiana High School Athletic Association sent out an e-mail to four LHSAA schools with retired head football or basketball coaches that were not full time faculty members on May 24 clarifying a by-law, said Vidalia High School principal Bernie Cooley.

The by-law in question, Cooley said, stipulates that any head football coach or head basketball coach for boys or girls must be a part of the faculty full time.

A coach who is not a fulltime faculty member can be on the sidelines as an assistant in football or basketball but not as a head coach, the by-law states.

Cooley said he and Faircloth discussed the situation for a week before making a final decision, Cooley said.

“It became not an option to become part of the full-time teaching faculty,” Cooley said.

The by-law does not apply to spring sports such as baseball and track, said Adam McDowell of the LHSAA.

Faircloth was the Vikings head coach for 41 straight seasons, from 1969-2009, retiring for the first time after the 2009 season.

Coming back to coach for the 2016 season Faircloth put in three more seasons as head coach, for a total of 44 years as the Vikings football leader.

“We were very fortunate to have had him as long as we did,” Cooley said. “I played for him from 1982 to 1985. He was my mentor and a friend.”

Mayor Buz Craft played for Faircloth from 1974-1977.

“I started at quarterback my junior and senior years,” Craft said. “Coach was firm and a great coach. He developed you as a man. He had your back if you put in the work. You had to have responsibility on and off the field. You had to have a work ethic in school and on the field.”

Faircloth did not return telephone message seeking comment on this story.

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