For the last three years, Michael King helped guide the George County offense to new heights.
Led by quarterback LaRaymond Spivery and a slew of talented receivers, the Rebels put up gaudy offensive numbers unparalleled in the state.
Now King, 34, is returning to Greene County to put his own stamp on his former program.
The former Wildcat assistant will take over for longtime coach and mentor Johnny Ainsworth, who announced his retirement earlier this month.
King spent nine years in the Greene County School District, seven as a varsity assistant. His last four years at Greene County he was the offensive coordinator. During that time, he developed a close bond with Ainsworth, whom he calls his “football dad.”
“He gave me my first chance as a play caller,” said King, who spent the last three seasons at George County. “He really, most importantly, taught me how to treat kids, how to motivate young men and how to correct without causing resentment.
“I think that's something he does as good as anybody.”
The Wildcats have fallen on hard times in recent years, winning just six games over the last three seasons, but King believes he can get the team back on track.
Because the change happened so close to the start of spring football, King isn’t wasting any time. He’s pulling double-duty between Lucedale and Leakesville. The Wildcats have a spring game scheduled for May and King wants to make sure his team is field ready.
“We're behind the 8 ball when it comes to IDing players and who will play where,” he acknowledged.
One of the first things he wants to do is find a quarterback he can trust. Ideally, he wants to use an up-tempo offense that can throw the ball around, but he understands he’ll likely have to implement a run-first scheme while his players get up to speed.
“I would like to get back to running the football effectively, which is something I think we had a tough time doing last year based on personnel,” he said. “I feel like the guys I've already come into contact with and the offensive line will allow us to run the ball more effectively.”
The 4A school will be a fixture on the Coast next season with George County (Aug. 25), Vancleave (Sept. 1) and Long Beach (Sept. 15) all on the schedule.