Curtis Maxwell Thaxton passes at age 67

Published 7:00 am Friday, June 9, 2017

As a teacher and coach at Pearl River Central High School, Curtis Maxwell Thaxton was thought of as one of the most influential figures in the school’s history, his son Anthony Thaxton said.
Curtis Thaxton passed away June 6.
Curtis Thaxton will be remembered as one of the winningest coaches in PRC football program history after leading two undefeated seasons in 1991 and 1995.
Although a great coach, Jay Beech, Poplarville High School head coach who formerly played for Curtis Thaxton, said he was an even better friend.
“He is the only coach I know of that constantly invited the whole team out to fish with him,” Beech said. “You could tell he had a love for each player, and the players all loved him back. What made him a good coach was that relationship, we all played hard for him because we knew he cared. He would go out of his way to do things for us so we did the same for him.”
During his prime, Thaxton led a powerful Blue Devils football program that dominated the late 80s and early 90s, which Beech, Anthony Thaxton and many others believe was the start of the passionate Blue Devil fan base seen at PRC sporting events today.
“The fan base and pride in the Carriere community took a huge leap in the Coach Thaxton era,” Beech said, who was a freshman during the 1995 undefeated season. “He was such a great person and coach that he brought pride and a whole new culture to the Carriere community, not just in sports, but as a whole.”
What made Curtis Thaxton so unique was not his coaching style, but the influence he had on each past, present and future player’s life as well as his family, which Anthony Thaxton said is due to how his father grew up.
“My father’s dad passed away when he was 13, so the biggest influential figures in his life were his coaches, who made him into the great, selfless person he is today. Because of that, I believe he wanted to be that person to all of his players and have the same impact on their lives that his coaches had on his,” Anthony Thaxton said.
Beech, among countless other former players under Thaxton, pursued coaching careers, emulating what Thaxton taught them on and off the field.
“There’s no doubt Coach is the reason we all had the urge to get into coaching as a profession,” Beech said, who recently took Poplarville to the 4A state championship. “I want to have the same impact on my players that he had on me. My goal as a coach is to love each player like he did us and have that same relationship with them.”
Even after players went through the PRC program and graduated, Beech said Curtis Thaxton constantly checked up on each player throughout their lives, inviting them to fish with him and attend a fish fry for the PRC football teams. He hosted the latest fish fry just a couple of weeks before his passing.
“I’m going to miss his phone calls after games, giving me advice and telling me where the fish were biting. I’m also going to miss fishing with him and eating his fried fish,” Beech said, who spoke with him after every game he coached and spent time with him playing cards just a couple of weeks ago.
Anthony Thaxton said his father felt a calling in his life to work for God and help direct kids toward him, which he did with his family as well as everyone he met.
“He was best friends with everyone and truly loved everyone in the community. I think his life was a life well spent. I am proud of my dad and all that he did for the community,” Anthony Thaxton said.
He said the Thaxton family is grateful for all the wishes and sympathy received from the community.
In the words of the late Curtis Thaxton, “Be the best that you can be,” and “Play, act and live like champions.” Both quotes were painted on the Thaxton-Davis field house at PRC.

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