High School Sports

D’Iberville’s new football coach has landed a ‘premier’ job that he always had an eye on

Larry Dolan always had an eye on becoming the head football coach at D’Iberville High School, and he has finally received that opportunity.

The Harrison County School Board approved Monday night the hiring of Dolan, 53, to take over the Warriors’ football program.

“I talked to (former coach Buddy Singleton) all the time and I told him I wanted that job,” Dolan said. “Early in my career at Forrest County AHS, we played D’Iberville a couple of times. Those were kids that played their butts off and had a great tradition. I respected the way the kids played and the way the fans followed the school.”

At D’Iberville, Dolan believes he has received a special opportunity.

“I think D’Iberville is one of the premier jobs on the Coast,” he said. “They have a great tradition in football.”

Dolan, who worked last season as the defensive coordinator at Oak Grove, won the 2013 Class 4A state title at Forrest County AHS and led the Aggies to a record of 113-51 during his time there as head coach from 2000-14

He last served as a head coach at Pearl River Central from 2016-17, going 5-17 at the Carriere school.

Prior to arriving at PRC, he worked two years as the head coach at Columbia Academy and compiled a record of 12-9.

At Oak Grove in 2018, he directed a defense that played a large role in leading the Warriors to the Class 6A state title game. Oak Grove lost 31-27 to Horn Lake in the championship contest.

“At PRC, we had some tough times,” Dolan said. “We had a very young team and were kind of in a rebuilding process. That’s a great community I left.

“To be able to work at a 6A school (in Oak Grove), I was able to sit back and be an assistant coach. It had been a long time since I had done that and I may have needed that. I had been calling all the shots and to have to sit back and watch, it was a relief in some ways. In one way, I missed some of that. This opportunity came open and it just felt right.”

Dolan will take over a football program that features one of the state’s top rising seniors in quarterback Jaden Walley, who has recently received scholarship offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn and Arkansas.

His younger brother, rising junior cornerback/receiver Justin Walley, also holds scholarship offers from Auburn, Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Dolan looks forward to finding different ways to use Jaden Walley, who ran for 1,214 yards and 16 touchdowns last season.

“There’s no doubt he’s a tremendous athlete,” he said. “I plan on using him a lot of ways. Some folks categorize me as a Wing-T coach, but I’m as multiple as anybody. If we’ve got a great QB, we’ll find a way to use him. If I’ve got an SEC running back like I had in Dontavian Lee at FCAHS, we’ll put him in the I and run the ball. Whatever we’re good at, we’ll find away to do it.

“We’ll put the ball in (Jaden Walley’s) hands and run him until he can’t run anymore. I think he can throw the ball well also. We kind of want to get him ready for the next level. The great teams are more than one great player. Hopefully we have the bodies around him that can catch the ball and run with the ball.

“We don’t have a three-year or a 5-year plan. We expect next year to compete for a region championship.”

Eric Collins stepped down as the DHS coach in December to take over the Bay High program. The Warriors were 18-16 in three seasons under Collins, who also served as the head coach at Pearl River Central prior to taking the D’Iberville 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.