Two years after leaving Neshoba Central High School for the head basketball coaching job at Kemper County, Jerry Byrd is back at the helm of the Rockets' program for the 2010-2011 campaign.

    Byrd spent one year with the Wildcats leading them to a final four appearance at the Mississippi Coliseum. He then took a teaching postition at New Hope High School as he wanted to be involved in his son's senior year.

    "I left to coach Kemper County for the 08-09 season," said Byrd. "Last year my son was a senior in high school at New Hope and he played there. I had never been able to watch him play or be involved in that aspect because I was always coaching when he was playing. So I took a teaching job there so I could be a part of his senior year and I'm glad I did."

    Byrd returns to a Neshoba Central program that is coming off a season where the Rockets posted an anemic 2-22 overall record. However, Byrd as well as Neshoba athletic director Joey Blount, believe he is here and focused on turning around the program.

    "We are already in the gym working on some things," added Byrd. "We are looking to find some guys that wanna play and trying to make the most of what is left of the summer. They were 2-22 last year and we are just going to go to work and turn this thing around. The district we are in is a tough one with Yazoo City, Ridgeland and Canton are all in there. Its gonna be tough."

    Added Blount: "We were glad to get Jerry back. He left to pursue some things he wanted to do the time before and there was nothing that caused us to split before other than what he wanted to pursue. He knows what kind of school we have here at Neshoba and I'm sure he is glad to be back.

    "We've struggled some in basketball and I think Jerry is committed to staying and help us build our program back up here. I have no doubt he can do it. People around the community are glad to hear he is back with us."

    Byrd is excited as well to be back with the Rockets.

    "This is a good school. I enjoyed it before I left," said Byrd. "I just had a chance to coach at Kemper County and that's where I graduated from.

    "Neshoba has good leaders at the school and a good administration. The community is great. I just always like teaching and coaching kids here. When the job came open I did just like everyone else and applied for it. I'm just thankful for the opportunity to come back."

    Byrd's hiring was made official at a board meeting on June 14.

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