Barnes excited about taking over Lamar football program

By By Richard Dark/The Meridian Star
Jan. 18, 2001
Tickets sales for Lamar Raider football may very well increase beginning today.
That's because the other shoe dropped Wednesday when the school officially introduced Meridian High Athletic Director Mac Barnes as its new head football coach, putting to rest any speculation as to where Barnes might end up.
Barnes announced his retirement from the public school system last week.
The former MHS coach, who turned in his whistle in 1997, said he thought the Raiders' woes on the gridiron were due in part to the image.
Ex-Lamar coaches have complained that one reason for a lack of success was some of the better athletes at the school didn't come out to play football, instead opting for other sports such as soccer, baseball or golf.
So how will Barnes try to get more athletes on the field?
Barnes doesn't anticipate his past coaching record being much of a factor in more athletes deciding to play, however.
As for why he chose to return to coaching, Barnes explained that his competitive nature needed some exercise.
One current player, Monroe Mayfield, was on hand for the ceremonies, and offered his assessment of where he thinks the Raider program is now headed.
The school's head master, Termie Land, did say that before approaching Barnes, he talked with other coaching candidates. But he said as the search went on, it became increasingly clear that Barnes was indeed the ideal fit.
And does Barnes consider coming to a program that can best be described as the antithesis of Meridian High, his greatest challenge?
I don't even compare the two," he said. "It's the biggest challenge because it's the next one."
And it's slated to begin June 1st.
Richard Dark is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. E-mail him at rdark@themeridianstar.com.

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