Mancuso returns to coaching

Published 1:06 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

Pearl River County native Lance Mancuso is back to patrolling the sidelines on Friday night.

Mancuso, who was the head coach at Poplarville the past three seasons, was approved as the new head football coach at Bassfield High in Jefferson Davis County recently.

Mancuso played at Pearl River Central High and his parents, Wayne and Lois, live in Picayune.

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“I felt like I needed to get back to what I do best, and that’s coaching high school football,” Mancuso said, Monday afternoon. “I love Pearl River County because it’s home and It always will be. But right now, I felt like this was the best fit for me.”

Mancuso resigned from his post at Poplarville in May.

“I hate some of the circumstances that took place, and a lot of it just got blown out of control,” Mancuso added. “In this business you either sink or swim after you face adversity, and hopefully this is the beginning of me climbing back to the top.”

Mancuso is returning to some familiar territory.

He came to Poplarville from Seminary, where he led the Bulldogs to the 2003 Class 2A state championship.

At that time, Bassfield was a member of the same district as Seminary.

He also coached at Lumberton, a Class 2A school.

“This is where I need to be right now,” he added. “This is kind of like getting back to my roots. I know this brand of football and I know we can be successful.”

He was successful at Poplarville also, leading the Hornets to consecutive Class 4A playoff appearances as well as a stunning upset of Petal in the opening round of the 2006 state playoffs.

“Who knows, if the stars align right and everything falls into place, maybe I’ll be back in that area coaching again one day,” Mancuso said, about possibly returning home in the future. “But right now I have a job to do here.”

• Mancuso was replaced at the helm of the Poplarville program by Chris Teal, who was an assistant at PRC last season.

Teal is the second Blue Devil assistant from last season no longer with PRC, as offensive coordinator Chris Rankin, who also coached at Picayune High for two seasons, left to take a job as an assistant coach at Olive Branch High School.