High School Sports

Pass Christian hires football coach who has worked for some of the state’s biggest names

Pass Christian High School looked to the Jackson area to find its new head football coach.

The school district announced Wednesday that the Pirates have hired Clinton offensive coordinator Blake Pennock to take over the high school’s football program.

“We looked at a lot of coaches, went through applications and resumes and got down to our interviewee candidates. We had several strong ones in there,” Pass Christian athletic director Tim Ladner said. “He’s been involved with a lot of high-profile Class 6A schools and been around success. He’s worked for highly-respected coaches like Nevil Bar, Larry Fedora and all the way up to Bobby Hall.

“In the end, we felt like he has a winning pedigree. He’s one of those guys that’s on the cusp. He’s going to get a head coaching job somewhere. At this time, we felt like he was the best fit for the program. “

Pennock’s first coaching job was as part of Barr’s coaching staff at Oak Grove. Next, he served as a graduate assistant under Larry Fedora at Southern Miss.

Pennock, a graduate of Terry High School and Southern Miss, returned to the high school coaching ranks and worked at Terry and under Bobby Hall at Madison Central before starting in 2014 as the offensive coordinator at Clinton.

Much like Fedora did at Southern Miss and Hall at Madison Central, Pennock plans to bring “a lot of energy” to the Pass Christian program.

“We’re going to have a lot of passion and purpose in what we do,” Pennock said. “There is going to be a lot of accountability. We want to master the stuff that does not require talent.”

During his time as offensive coordinator at Clinton, the Arrows won the Class 6A state championship in 2016. That team featured Cam Akers, who was one of the nation’s top recruits before landing at Florida State.

At Pass Christian, Pennock knows he’s taking over a program that’s not accustomed to consistent success.

“We have to be able to set the culture through hard work and accountability,” Pennock said. “Pass Christian has talent and has been successful in other sports so I know they have talented athletes. We have to do things right on and off the field. If you do that, winning takes care of itself.”

Pennock hopes to be on the job at Pass Christian at some point in January.

“When I did a lot of research, the biggest thing was I thought Pass Christian is more similar to the place I’m at now, Clinton,” he said. “It’s a place that’s succeeded on the academic side. It was evident in my interview that the administration, school and community, that they’re committed to excellence on the athletics side. They’re hungry for a winner.

“One of the things I said during the interview is, ‘It takes a village to raise a baby.’ It also takes a village to make a great football program. With everybody bought in, it’s exciting to have an opportunity to be a part of it.”

Pennock replaces Casey Wittman, who stepped down in October after 10 years on the job.

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.