Green Wave loses second assistant football coach

Thursday night, Josh Pulphus, who was in his first year of a second stint at West Point, was named head coach at Columbus, where he coached previously.
Staff Writer

West Point High football coach Chris Chambless is looking for at least one new assistant coach.

Chambless knew he was going to be short one when running backs coach Alex Williams was hired in January to be head coach at Aberdeen, where he once attended school and coached.

Thursday night, Josh Pulphus, who was in his first year of a second stint at West Point, was named head coach at Columbus, where he coached previously.

Pulphus will lead his new team against his old team in October in a game that not only is a neighborhood rivalry but also will be a district game for the first time since Columbus has slipped down to Class 5A.

“We hate to lose him. Columbus always is a big rivalry game and it would be even bigger since it’s also now a district game. Having Mark there just makes it that much more interesting,” Chambless said of Pulphus, who coached tight ends for the Green Wave this past season and said he hopes to bring West Point’s winning culture and community tradition to the Falcons.

“You hate to lose good people, coaches who understand the process and the system and the community. But you also have to wish them well. They all want to earn their chance,” continued Chambless.

Chambless said he now will try to find one assistant coach to fill both roles if possible. He has two assistant coach supplements but declining enrollment is forcing more school district spending cuts this year and supplements could be among those reductions.

“Finding the right person always is difficult, especially when you are trying to replace two people who helped make a difference,” said Chambless, who has led the Green Wave to three straight Class 5A state title and five since 2009. He took over as head coach in 2006 after seven years as an assistant. He is entering his 24th year coaching.

Pulphus, an Okolona native, previously spent a year at Columbus, two years at New Hope and one at Starkville where he was defensive coordinator before spending a year at Kemper County as head coach.

He made that circuit after spending three years at West Point before leaving in 2012. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in sports administration, he started his career at Aberdeen before coming to West Point the first time.

Pulphus officially starts at Columbus July 1.

Meanwhile Williams is getting ready to take over at Aberdeen. A native of Aberdeen, he joined Shambles staff to learn with an eye on one day returning to take over the Bulldogs.

Williams graduated from Hatley in 2001, but attended Aberdeen until his sophomore year. He was an assistant there from 2009-2014, a stint that included Aberdeen making back-to-back state title appearances in 2009 and 2010.

He came to West Point in 2015 and helped coach a talented array of running backs that included Marcus Murphy.

While he’s looking for a new assistant, Chambless also is thinking about the new alignment and what will be a different schedule this fall. The Green Wave will open a week later, going to defending state Class 4A champ Louisville on Aug. 30 and then host 6A powers Starkville and Tupelo Sept. 6 and Sept. 13. Noxubee County is next on Sept. 20.

West Point traditionally has had an open date in there to get ready for district play. But not this year.

The Wave goes straight into the district schedule starting with Lafayette County and Saltillo, on Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. Columbus, Grenada, Lake Cormorant finish out October and then New Hope, the other new district foe, closes out the regular season Nov. 1.

“We play straight through this year. And we are starting later, it’s like the old days,” Chambless said.