High School Sports

Moss Point coach steps down to accept new position

Moss Point coach Tony Woody celebrates a call during Hoopsfest at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Bilox in 2015.
Moss Point coach Tony Woody celebrates a call during Hoopsfest at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Bilox in 2015. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

Moss Point High School is in the market for new girls and boys basketball coaches.

Tony Woody was approved Monday night as the new boys basketball coach at Jefferson Davis County, a new school formed through the merger of Bassfield and Prentiss.

“It’s closer to my home, closer to my folks (in Poplarville),” Woody said. “It’s a good opportunity at a brand-new school. There are a lot of pluses.”

Woody had coached both the boys and girls basketball teams at Moss Point High School the last three seasons.

He led the girls basketball program to one of its best seasons in recent memory in 2016-17. The Lady Tigers finished 18-10 and 6-2 in region play.

He stepped into a tough situation when he took charge of the boys program at Moss Point. The program is still in a rebuilding effort following the graduation of Devin Booker after the 2013-14 season. Booker is now a young star in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns.

Woody replaced Micoe Cotton, who was forced out during the 2013-14 campaign, as the boys coach. Cotton is serving 25 years in prison for having sex with a female student.

The Moss Point boys team finished 7-24 last season.

Woody was encouraged by the direction of both the girls and boys programs at Moss Point.

“It’s one of those bittersweet things,” he said. “We started to lay a foundation and the kids responded well. I hate to move on. Sometimes you’ve got to make those tough decisions. It’s a great group of boys and girls. They finally bought in and they were excited about building something, but I’ve got to move on. That’s the hard part.”

Woody also spent 19 years as the head coach at Columbia, including nine as both boys and girls head coach.

He looks forward to the chance to build the boys basketball program at Jefferson Davis County, which will be a Class 3A program.

“That’s a great challenge, a great opportunity,” he said. “You have two communities, two rivals that are coming together to play as one. It’s a win, win. It’s a chance to establish a tradition, be the first.”

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee

Related stories from Biloxi Sun Herald