Coach Kevin Walton resigned recently as head coach of the East Union football team. Walton had coached the Urchins for the past five seasons as well as serving as an assistant to Scott Duley for one year.
"Some of the best times I've had as a coach have been at East Union," Walton said. "This was a very difficult decision. The administration was really good to me and I will always be thankful to them!"
Walton became the second head coach in East Union football history in 2015 as he succeeded Duley who stepped aside to spend more time with family. He guided the Urchins to a 6-6 record and into the 2A state playoffs in his first year.
Walton proceeded to lead the Urchins to five straight playoff appearances during his five year tenure and two consecutive 1-2A division titles in 2018 and 2019 in which East Union went undefeated in division play.
"The boys bought into the system and improved every year," Walton said.
East Union's best season under Walton came in the recent 2019 campaign as he led the Urchins to a 9-3 record and a first round playoff win over Bruce. East Union threw for 2,800 yards and rushed for 2,320 in their explosive offensive attack led by Walton's son, quarterback Ty Walton.
The Urchins were defeated in the second round of 2A football playoffs by eventual runner-up, Charleston.
"Coach Walton was a very successful coach at East Union," East Union Principal Lee Bruce said. "He was on staff for six and a half years and head coach for five of those. He went 35-24 as a head coach and won back-to-back division titles in 2018 and 2019.
"He also served as the boys powerlifting coach. Coach Walton took an infant program and through his work ethic, passion and devotion to the kids and the game, turned the program into a very successful 2A program in Northeast Mississippi. His fiery nature and enthusiasm made the players at East love to play for him and instilled a love for football within the community. East Union wishes him nothing but the best as he moves forward with his career."
Walton proved his offensive prowess as an innovative thinker by making use of his personnel resources as he successfully changed the Urchin offense a couple of years ago from a run-oriented scheme to a spread formation that utilized a high-powered passing attack that opened up a deadly ground game to compliment it.
East Union will begin the search for a new coach, but no timeline has been set for finding a replacement.
"Due to the shut-down of athletics as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, an interim coach will not be named, but this could change depending on the situation and timeline," Bruce said. "However, the search for a replacement will begin immediately. East Union is fortunate to have candidates on staff, but if an outside candidate is a good fit, we are open to that possibility as well.
"In the end, we want to find someone who will care for the kids and provide them discipline and support while continuing the winning ways that Coach Walton has established."