After a long search, Bay High ultimately decided to turn the football program over to a familiar face.
The Bay-Waveland School Board approved assistant Benji Foreman during Thursday's meeting. He replaces longtime head coach Jeff Hopgood, who posted a 35-28 record before leaving to join Rocky Gaudin's Hancock High staff.
"This means a lot," Foreman said Thursday night. "I'm just blessed and excited. Ready to get started."
Foreman's promotion caps the Coast's coaching carousel.
During this offseason, Taylorsville's Matt Caldwell was hired at George County, Tracy Rogers was promoted at West Harrison, Pearl River Central's Eric Collins replaced Buddy Singleton at D'Iberville, PRC coordinator John Feaster was hired at Stone and PRC hired Columbia Academy's Larry Dolan.
Foreman came to the Coast in 2003 as a part of Long Beach's staff before moving over to Bay in 2007. After two seasons as a defensive position coach, he was promoted to defensive coordinator.
Now it's his program.
He said he was a little surprised he ended up getting the job because he felt some wanted to go outside the program. In the end, he said, it was his loyalty to the program and hard work that put him over the top.
"It's been a long, stressful process. I kind of felt maybe they were wanting someone from the outside to revitalize the program. It meant a lot to me -- I knew some of the people had confidence in me.
"I think (the promotion) was important, especially for the kids. They were asking there were a bunch of unknowns so I really think it's more important for the kids than anything."
The spring season, which starts April 25, will be big in the Bay as Foreman gets his first chance to put his own stamp on the program. The Tigers are coming off a 4-6 season and haven't been above .500 since a 10-2 run in 2012.
"We're going to have a lot of young players," he said. "We're going to have to evaluate them and run with them."
With this being Foreman's first head gig, he said he will lean on advice and lessons from former BHS coaches Hopgood and Brennan Compretta, as well as his own high school coach, Jack French.