The search for Tommy Thompson's successor as the next St. Patrick football coach has led school administrators to Vancleave.
Friday, the school announced long-time Vancleave coach Jim Bloomfield will be its next coach.
"We are excited about the future of our team under the guidance of a veteran South Mississippi coach and expect our program to flourish," athletics director Robin Jeffries said.
Bloomfield has led the Bulldogs for 15 seasons, posting a 62-59 record in the last 11 seasons. During that span, Bloomfield's squad posted an 11-2 win season in 2010 and has made the playoffs in eight of the last 12 years. Twice his teams made the South State semifinals. He was also named the 2011 Coach of the Year by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of the National Football Foundation.
Bloomfield, a William Carey University graduate, also served as AD at VHS for eight years. Prior to that, he was the head ninth grade football coach for 16 seasons at Gautier.
In the last eight years, Bloomfield has coached four Division I signees, with four of his previous players having goine on to play in the NFL.
Thompson announced in mid-March he was leaving the Fighting Irish for a job closer to his hometown in Illinois. Thompson, who is also a track and field coach, will remain at the school through the end of the semester.
Thompson posted a 5-15 record in two seasons at St. Patrick, but the team's four wins in 2014 were the most by a Fighting Irish squad since 2008.
"We improved significantly from last year to this year," Thompson said at the time. "(The next coach) just needs to keep the kids motivated. What I tried to instill in the kids I think works, which is structure and discipline and making them believe they can win.
"At one point, we won three games in a row and there was a lot of buzz."
Bloomfield is expected to address the Fighting Irish team at 2:30 p.m. and parents at 5:30 p.m.
The Sun Herald is working to update this report.