High School Sports

Another high school football coach is switching programs on the Coast

Vancleave Bulldogs head coach Lavon Capers during the game between Vancleave and East Central at East Central, Friday, October 26, 2018.
Vancleave Bulldogs head coach Lavon Capers during the game between Vancleave and East Central at East Central, Friday, October 26, 2018. Special to the Sun Herald

After 21 years at Vancleave, Lavon Capers received an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

Capers informed his players on Thursday that he is retiring as an employee of the Jackson County School District and will become the new head football coach at Resurrection Catholic School.

Capers, a Pascagoula native, jumped on the chance to work closer to home and he’ll be working under athletic director Johnny Olsen, who served as his baseball coach at Pascagoula High School.

“Just the opportunity to retire after 26 years (as a coach) and get my retirement going, the opportunity for my family was financially too hard to pass up,” Capers said. “Then again, it had to be the right situation. I feel like Resurrection is a close knit, family atmosphere similar to what we have at Vancleave. They have a great reputation.”

At Resurrection, Capers takes over a program that’s been one of the most consistent winners on the Coast over the last five years under Scott Sisson, who stepped down recently to serve as an assistant for the girls volleyball, tennis and basketball squads.

The Eagles have a record of 46-17 since 2014 and played in the Class 1A state title game in 2015.

“Coach Sisson has done an amazing job there,” Capers said. “It seems like an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often. When the opportunity presented itself, I knew it was something I needed to pursue and see what came of it.

“I hope I can bring a new energy, a little bit of a perspective that can help them build on what they got started and got going. I know they played for a state championship a few years back. It’s going to be a challenge to do better than what they’ve done, but that’s the goal.”

Capers took over as the head football coach at Vancleave in 2015 after Jim Bloomfield retired to become the head coach at St. Patrick. Prior to his elevation to head coach at Vancleave, he served as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator for 15 years.

Capers, who was 15-30 in four years as the Vancleave head coach, also made coaching stops at Oak Grove and Pascagoula early in his career.

Capers will remain at Vancleave through the end of the school year, but will be on hand to lead Resurrection through spring practice.

“The toughest thing through this whole process was talking to coaches I work with on the staff and the players,” Capers said. “You build relationships over that many years. It’s been a great place for me and my family. It’s kind of odd for a coach to stay some place that long these days. The right opportunity never came up for me to entertain leaving. It was really difficult. That was the hardest part of the decision, knowing I was leaving an area and a place I really cared about a lot. It was definitely a difficult decision. It was hard to have that talk with the guys here for sure.”

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Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.