Alexander replaces Lumpkin

Published 9:33 pm Wednesday, August 6, 2008

When 24-year-old Austin Alexander was hired two months ago as the girls head basketball coach at Pearl River Central High School, he became one of the youngest head coaches in south Mississippi.

Then suddenly last week, Alexander may have become the youngest head coach in the state in charge of a pair of varsity programs.

Alexander, who was an assistant coach at Poplarville High the past two seasons, will now be the head coach of the PRC Blue Devils as well as the Lady Devils.

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Alexander will take over the boys program also, replacing Alan Lumpkin.

Lumpkin decided to step down from his post after a family tragedy two weeks ago.

“I was really looking forward to coaching with Alan, that’s one of the reasons I accepted the job here to begin with,” Alexander said. “But considering the circumstances and what he has gone through, I certainly understand why he feels the need to get away from coaching at this point.”

One of Lumpkin’s young daughters was killed in a tragic accident recently. He will move into administration, becoming an assistant principal at the PRC Middle School.

“I just thought that this was the best thing for my family,” Lumpkin, a PRC alumnus who had been the coach of the Blue Devils for the past four years, said. “This will give me more time to spend at home with my wife and our two other daughters, and that’s where I need to be right now.”

The original plan was for Alexander to take over for Lumpkin after the upcoming season, once Lumpkin had moved into the administrative role.

“I am proud of the basketball program and I wouldn’t have stepped away and given it to just anyone,” Lumpkin added. “But I know Austin can handle the job.”

Lumpkin also expressed his family’s appreciation to the community in the aftermath of the tragedy.

“We had a amazing response from the community, they have showed us so much love and support through this hard time,” he added. “We are so thankful to everyone for everything. Words can’t describe what the out-pouring of love that has been shown to us has meant to us.”

Alexander said he was ready for the challenge.

“It will be a huge load for me, especially for my first head coaching experience,” he concluded. “But I am ready to go and get started.”