For the first time in nearly a decade, Amory will have a new face on the football sidelines.

Ninth-year head coach Pat Byrd is awaiting board approval at Saltillo High School for its vacant head coaching position.

Greg May left the post on Nov. 12 after three seasons at the Class 5A school.

Byrd, also the athletic director at Amory, said he told his players of his decision to leave on Thursday afternoon, but some were unavailable with basketball and other classes.

The Saltillo board will meet on Monday night.

“It’s almost like when think of Amory, Coach Byrd is right there,” said Amory sophomore quarterback Forest Williams. “Thinking of Coach Byrd not being associated with Amory is going to be kind of weird.”

Amory, which already has the opening posted on the school’s Web site, will reportedly begin the search process immediately.

Byrd, known for his normally heavily-loaded schedules, succeeded Bobby Hall as head coach at Amory in 2001.

The Class 4A Panthers finished the 2009 season with a 3-9 mark, losing to Itawamba in the opening round of the playoffs, also with losses to New Hope, North 3A champ Aberdeen, Pontotoc and Noxubee County.

“We’ll get used to it,” said Williams, “but it will feel pretty strange. I’m going to miss how he motivated us.”

Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal

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