Holmes County names winning coach principal


By Edelia “Dr. Jay” Carthan,

Contributing Writer,

Holmes County Central High School basketball team

Holmes County Consolidated  School District has named Antwayn Patrick as principal of Holmes County Central High School.

Patrick, a former practicing attorney, has spent the last 10 years as a teacher and head basketball coach at S.V. Marshall High School and Holmes County Central High School. Last year, Patrick became the assistant principal at Holmes County Central High School.

“I received a call Saturday about 12:30 p.m. from the superintendent,” Patrick recalled. “He asked me if I could meet with him at 2 p.m. I did.”

Patrick says the superintendent basically told him that his coaching career was over. 

“I had to tell my players this Sunday, the hardest decision of my life,” Patrick said in a telephone interview. 

“There is no place like Holmes,” Patrick commented. “Being raised here, I feel a sense of pride that you can only get from being here. We have some of the smartest kids in the world and it’s time to showcase our students to the world. We must change the narrative of Holmes County. Holmes County products are doctors, lawyers, nurses, superintendents, principal, welders, truck drivers, you name it. So, being the principal is an exciting feeling, but it is not about me; it is about the children. We are going to establish a culture of excellence and pride that “we can,” and we will be accepting nothing less.

“Being a principal and a coach are similar. It is all about establishing relationships; relationships with the students, faculty and staff, parents and community. The successful districts have an intertwine of all those stakeholders working together. As a coach, I bridged those gaps, and as a principal I hope to, no, I will bring us together to make us successful,” Patrick said. 

The best part of this story is that Patrick started out wanting to volunteer and tutor students at S.V. Marshall High School. But a couple days before he could start, the principal fired the U.S. History teacher. The principal then calls Patrick and says, “I need a U.S. History teacher.”

Two months later, the head basketball coach resigned. The outgoing coach told Patrick, “You should be the coach.” Days later, the principal offered him the job and after four state appearances, two state championships and five district championships, he has proven himself as a leader, a mentor and one of the best coaches to coach in the district. “My grandmother, Roberta Patrick, is 90 years old, and she never missed a game. She said she will still go to the games. She’s excited.”

The position became available because the assistant superintendent, who served as the interim principal, resigned. No matter how this happened, the community is excited about Patrick being the new principal, but sad to see him go as the coach.

“I’m so hurt and I know my son is also but you have been a great inspiration to my child, our children, and I’m very happy on your upcoming journey,” Cottonette Wallden wrote on Patrick’s Facebook page. “Job well done.”

“Continue to listen to God, and shape the minds of our youth,” Tamika Clark-Garnett commented. “God will elevate you in so many other places. You have conquered, and I am so proud of you, classmate.”

Lavern Hampton, a citizen of Holmes County, wrote, “I understand you have to move to the next level. Please continue to mentor our young men. They need you.”

Patrick received hundreds of well wishes from parents, teachers, classmates and community members. Excited about what’s in store, Patrick said Holmes County Central High School won’t be successful without the community.

“Schools cannot be successful unless they have the support of the community. The first thing we must do is welcome the community,” Patrick said. “We must change the narrative of the school being anti-community, anti-parents. We want to welcome them as a partner in our children’s success. 

Holmes County Central High School is currently an F-rated school located in Lexington, MS. Patrick hopes to improve the school rating during his first year.

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