Keeping Score

Pascagoula hires Wayne County's Norman as basketball coach

Pascagoula High School has hired Wayne County's Ronald Norman, a man considered by many to be one of the top coaches in Class 5A, to take over the boys basketball program.

The Pascagoula school board approved the selection of Norman on Tuesday afternoon.

Norman brings an impressive track record of success to Pascagoula after a five-year stint at Wayne County in which he won the 2011 Class 5A state championship and had a record of 171-17.

He previously served as head coach at Bay Springs from 2000-07 and Raleigh from 1996-2000.

Norman's overall record is 374-146.

Norman said today that he is hoping to deliver Pascagoula's first basketball state title.

“I always saw Pascagoula as a melting pot and they had a good basketball history,” Norman said. “They've just never gotten over the hump as far as winning state. I always believed the best Class 5A schools in central Mississippi were Meridian and Wayne County. I felt Pascagoula was the best 5A job on the Coast.

“If you look at the history of basketball in the state, 90 percent of the champions in 5A and 6A come from the Coast or Jackson, especially before they went to 6A. If Jackson is the basketball Mecca, then the Coast is Vatican City.”

Norman replaces Tony Combs, who stepped down in March after two successful seasons at the school.

Norman takes over a program that has been to the state semifinals in Jackson for three consecutive years, and he hopes to build on that success.

“I expect to continue to make Pascagoula perennial,” Norman said. “I expect for Pascagoula basketball to be in the mix every year. As long as in you're in the mix, you've got a chance. I just want us to be consistent. I want our program to build on things they've done. I'm not re-inventing the wheel. They've had great players and coaches. We'll continue to add onto things they've done there already.”

Norman developed a reputation at Wayne County as a demanding coach who holds his players accountable at all times.“He said in his interview that if he needs to play 10 or 12 guys, he'll do that,” Pascagoula School District athletic director Greg Freeman said. “He believes that if you work hard in practice, he's going to play you. If only a few are doing what they need to do and working hard, he'll play that group. If he's got five starters and they're not playing hard, he will pull them out and put five in.”

Pascagoula graduates two of its top scorers in Tracy Hadley and Prince McDaniel, but returns a couple of key contributors in the backcourt in La'Datren Deas, who averaged 11.6 points this season, and backup Bobby Nettles.

Norman will also have three experienced forwards in Matthew Eaton, Jawuan Jackson and Caleb Caston.