Wade Pierce’s first head coaching job could prove to be a tall order.

The Neshoba Central offensive coordinator received school board approval on Monday night to be the next football coach at Hamilton. He takes over for Josh Baty, who left after four seasons to be an assistant coach at Nettleton.

Pierce, 30, spent seven years at Neshoba Central – his alma mater – and said he feels he is ready to lead a program. He’s wanted to be a head coach since he was in high school.

“When I saw that Hamilton was open,” Pierce said, “I started asking some questions and found out that it was a great place and thought, hey, what better place to start than here?”

The Lions were 1-10 last season, and MHSAA realignment has put them in arguably the toughest division, pound-for-pound, in the state. Division 2-1A features the likes of French Camp, Nanih Waiya, Noxapater, Okolona, Smithville and TCPS – all playoff teams in 2018.

“I know that it definitely didn’t get any easier with us moving back up north,” Pierce said. “It definitely presents a challenge.”

Last season, Neshoba Central went 10-3 behind a relentless rushing attack. The Rockets, led by Jarquez Hunter and Tyler Mathis, averaged 372.2 rushing yards per game.

“I want to be fast, but I want to be physical,” Pierce said. “At Neshoba the past couple of years we’ve been kind of a double-wing team out of a pistol look. That’s kind of my plan whenever I get (to Hamilton), is to bring that double-wing look, just because it’s been really successful here at Neshoba.”

brad.locke@journalinc.com Twitter: @bradlocke

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