By Robert Wilson
Jackson Prep has hired its second out of state football coach in as many years, this time from Alabama, to try to replace former National High School Football Coach of the Year and Mississippi Hall of Fame member Ricky Black, who surprisingly resigned a year ago after 24 successful years and 13 state championships at Prep.
Alabama native and Auburn graduate Doug Goodwin, who had a successful career coaching high school football in Alabama for 29 years, was named head football coach at Prep Thursday.
Goodwin, 59, replaces 35-year-old Tennessee native Tyler Turner, who resigned in January after an 8-5 record, the most losses at Prep since 1970, the first year of the school.
Goodwin was a special teams analyst for the past two seasons at Ole Miss and held a variety of coaching positions, including Director of High School Relations, at Auburn from 2014-2019. He had a 234-91 record, a 72 percent winning percentage, in 27 seasons coaching high school in Alabama at Marion County, Lineville, Demopolis, Russellville and Homewood from 1987-2013. In 2008, Goodwin became the first coach in Alabama history to take three different teams to a state championship game. He led his teams to 14 area and regional championships, 21 state playoff appearances, five state championship appearances, and one state championship. Goodwin led Demopolis to a 15-0 record and a state title in 2008 and set a state record with 761 points that season. Goodwin was named the Alabama Football Coaches Association State Coach of the Year in 2008 and elected to the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
“Jackson Prep has a championship tradition with a passionate, devoted fan base,” said Goodwin in a news release. “I am honored and excited to be a part of it. I look forward to meeting the parents, players, and coaches as we prepare for the upcoming season.”
“We are very excited to welcome Coach Goodwin to the Prep family,” Prep athletic director Will Crosby said. “He brings a wealth of experience that comes from coaching both at the high school level and the college level, and I believe that experience will allow him to continue Prep’s tradition of excellence and history of winning.”
“Coach Goodwin’s experience and success as a coach shows me that he is the right person to lead our football program,” Prep head of school Lawrence Coco said. “In our time together throughout the interview process, he has shown me that he will be a great role model for our players, both on and off the field.”
“Coach Goodwin has a tremendous work ethic, and his understanding of the game is remarkable,” Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin said. “I look forward to seeing that program and its players thrive under his leadership.”
Goodwin, a Sylacauga, Ala., native, was a walk-on defensive back at Auburn and graduated from there in 1984.
Goodwin will start immediately and will lead the off-season workout program and spring football practice.
Turner resigned last month after a difficult season.
Prep got off to an 0-2 start with losses to MAIS Class 3A champion Greenville Christian 48-13 and MAIS Class 5A champion Heritage 39-21. Prep also lost to Rankin County rival Hartfield Academy twice (22-17 during the regular season and 17-13 in the 6A semifinals) – the first time the two schools had met in football – and MAIS Class 6A state champion Madison-Ridgeland Academy 50-20. The 50 points tied for the most points Prep had allowed in a game in school history. It was the second straight year MRA had scored 50 points against Prep.
Turner, a Tennessee native and Arkansas State graduate, came to Prep from Goodpasture Christian School in Madison, Tenn., a suburb of Nashville. Turner had a 67-15 record in six seasons as a head coach, with three seasons at MHSAA Class 6A Olive Branch and two seasons at Class 3A Liberty Technology Magnet School in Jackson, Tenn. Turner led Goodpasture to its first semifinal appearance in 10 years and the school’s first winning season since joining the Tennessee Division II-Class AA Private School Division four years ago.
Turner was hired after Black surprisingly resigned a year ago after a brilliant career at Prep. He had a 263-43 record, an amazing, 85.9 winning percentage, and 13 MAIS state championships, including a Mississippi record seven consecutive from 2012-2018, in his 24 seasons at Prep. Black is the second winningest high school football coach in Mississippi history with 401 victories.
Prep finished 7-3 in 2020 and didn’t make the MAIS Class 6A championship game for the first time since 2010 and didn’t win the state title for the second straight year for the first time since Jackson Academy won three straight from 2009-2011. Prep lost to JA 28-21 in the 6A semifinals for the first time in 13 meetings. Since Black led Prep to a Mississippi record seven straight state titles, Prep had lost to Madison-Ridgeland Academy in all three meetings since by scores of 34-22, 48-33 and 50-24. Prep lost five MAIS games in the last two years (2019 and 2020) for the first time since 2004-2005. Black was one quarter from being in the state title game this past season, but JA scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, the winning touchdown in the last minute. Turner’s job wasn’t to turn around a program like he did at Olive Branch or Goodpasture, but to bring Prep back to the top like Black did during his seven-year state title run. But that didn’t happen.
Now, it’s Goodwin’s turn to bring Prep back to the winning ways Black had for so many years. The Patriots have 10 returning starters from last year’s team. Prep’s schedule is the same as last year, opening up against MAIS two-time defending Class 3A state champion Greenville Christian, which finished ranked No. 74 in the country.