Controversy has been surrounding the Meridian High School football program for the past few months with the recent firing of their head coach, Martez Edwards, after an inappropriate photo of him surfaced online. However, the field is getting a familiar face just six weeks before the 20-19 season opener. The Meridian Public School District has officially announced former Northeast High School and Quitman High school coach, John Douglass, as new head coach of Meridian High School football. “It literally is a dream come true and an opportunity that I’m taking very seriously, that I feel so fortunate to be a part of,” said Douglass.
He said he’s dreamed of being on the Wildcats field since he was little, and that dream became a reality for him in when he played on the team in middle school and high school. Now, his dream is furthered, but there are major obstacles. “We’ve got an uphill battle to fight, and John was willing to step in at a real tough time. It’s not like he’s getting handed a championship team under championship conditions,” said Meridian High’s Athletic Director, Chuck Butler. “He’s got his work cut out for him, and I have no doubt just from his work ethic in the years that I’ve been around him that he’s the perfect guy for the job.” With the recent firing of Meridian High’s previous head coach, Douglass is working every angle to build a strong team within the next few months. “That’s really the number one thing, you know, it’s that when they show up, they come ready to learn, they come ready to give effort, and it’s our responsibility to be sure we’re putting them in the right spot. Everybody seemed upbeat this morning. I think we’ve got off to a good start, and we really just need to build on it,” said Douglass. Butler has a strong history with Douglass, considering he coached him in junior high and taught him in school. Butler has no doubts when it comes to Douglass.
“As long as we’re seeing progress, we’re going to be happy. What we put on the field is what we put on the field. I have no doubt, that, over time, our team is going to improve as the year goes on, as they’ve spent more time together, that the time will be better in week seven than they were in week one. That’s all that you can really ask for is to see improvement,” said Butler. There will be a parents meeting next Monday at 6 p.m. at the multi-purpose building on campus. Douglass said this is a way to further engage parents about what can be done to make the team stronger as they prepare for the upcoming season.