Chris Odom has been loyal to the D’Iberville High School boys basketball program.
The longtime assistant was rewarded for his loyalty Monday when the Harrison County School District approved him as the Warriors’ next coach.
“This is my dream job,” Odom said Monday night. “I came from here and I want to continue to push toward success.”
For Odom, the announcement was the culmination of a lifetime of hard work. A 2004 graduate of D’Iberville, Odom attended East Mississippi Community College, Southern Miss and William Carey before returning home. Odom then returned to his alma mater and has been a Warriors assistant coach for eight seasons. Now, he’ll get to call the shots.
“When I found out, I was just filled with excitement,” Odom said. “This is my dream job. I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. It means a lot to me. I want to thank the administration for giving me the opportunity.”
Odom replaces Lorenzo Wright, who left the Warriors for Pascagoula after a renaissance season of sorts that saw D’Iberville post a 19-12 record and spend several weeks atop the Coast’s rankings.
Wright told the Sun Herald on Monday he was proud of Odom for getting the promotion.
“He deserves it. He has been very loyal to the program. It's good to see him get the opportunity,” Wright said. “He's been there through the down part so it's only right he gets it. “I think it's a job on the rise.”
Despite taking over a varsity program for the first time, Odom said he’s confident that 2015 was just the start of something bigger.
“The main thing is stability to get the program in the right direction,” he said. With what we did last year, we’re going to build off of that.
“These younger guys are hungry and ready to prove what they can do.”
The Warriors graduated a handful of playmakers, but Odom said the 2016 version will have a lot in common with last year’s squad.
“We're going to continue to get up in people's face and guard,” he said. “We're going to continue the defensive background that Coach Wright installed. On offense, we're going to let the kids show out and show what they can do.”
When it comes to their demeanor on the court, Wright said he’s more reserved where Odom is more animated.
“He’s the ying to my yang,” Wright said.
What advice does Wright have for Odom, who is taking over a program for the first time?
“He just needs to be himself and the rest will show up,” Wright said. “Just continue to be a hard worker and a student of the game.”