Photo by Chris Todd

Ridgeland High School has hired a winner in new athletic director and football coach Teddy Dyess. Check out these numbers:

​Dyess has an amazing 82.5 winning percentage (a 212-45 record) in his 20 seasons as head coach. Only Ricky Black, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame member and 2019 National Coach of the Year who recently resigned at Jackson Prep, has a better winning percentage (83.3) among Mississippi football coaches with at least 200 career victories.

​Dyess has won six state championships, two as a player at Bassfield, one as an assistant coach at Madison Central, two as a head coach at Lumberton and one as a head coach at Magee last season when he went 12-0 and defeated Noxubee County 49-26 for the MHSAA Class 3A state title. 

​Dyess has never had a losing season at a head coach. The closest he came was in 2016 when he was 6-6 at Philadelphia. He has won at least 10 games in 15 of his 20 seasons as head coach, averaging 10.6 wins per season. He went five consecutive years (2009-13) without losing a region game at Philadelphia. Dyess has had two undefeated seasons and five more seasons, including four consecutive at Philly, with only one loss. 

​Dyess, 52, was introduced Friday at a news conference at Ridgeland High School. Ridgeland principal Keith Fennell said Dyess brings much more than an outstanding winning percentage to his school. 

By Justin Rives

“I feel confident we have found a man who checks all the boxes that we are in need of,” Fennell said. “When asked about his career he chooses to reflect on his calling, instead his career. He explains he sees each day as a new opportunity for that calling to serve the students, staff and community of Ridgeland High School. He understands his coaching and leadership philosophy is built on foundational piece of developing relationships and the importance of establishing the rapport with not only with student athletes, but teachers, parents and community as well. In his new calling of his career, he’s looking at providing stability we need at Ridgeland High School and take the next step to win a state championship and become the program that is respected all over the state.”

“The first thing we are doing to do at Ridgeland High School is love each other,” said Dyess, who has been an AD for nine years. “We are going to love each other in the community, in the hallway and on the athletic field. I thank God for this opportunity. This is a calling. It’s not a job for me, it’s a calling. I am beyond blessed to get up and doing something I love to do. There’s been a lot of winning gone on at Ridgeland High School in the 19 years it’s been here. There have been some great coaches like Lynn Moore and Kenny Burton and you can go on and on. Nobody is going to have higher expectations for their student athletes than I am. Nobody is going to put more pressure on me than me. We are going to meet and exceed those expectations. We want to win the 5A all-sports award. We want to be good in everything we do. First goal as a football coach, we want to create great neighbors. Every child in this school is going to somebody’s neighbor one day. You do that by developing character, attitude, pride, discipline. That’s our job today as educators. We are supposed to do that for our kids. You can follow me on twitter(@coachTDyess) #TPW. Tough People Win. I truly believe that. And I’m not talking about physical toughness, even though that is a factor. It is tough some mornings when you’ve been in a powerlifting meet until 11:30 the night before and that clock goes off at 4:30 to get up. It’s tough to get up through those times sometimes. If you are tough long enough, tough people will win. We are going to bring championships to Ridgeland High School. You’ve got to be aggressive and compete every day. We want to be a school that everybody wants to come to, but nobody wants to play us.”

​Dyess replaces Sam Williams, who left after one season as AD/head football coach to take a similar position at Brandon High. Dyess is the thirdhead coach in three seasons at Ridgeland. Williams led Ridgeland to a 10-3 record and the 5A semifinals. David White led the Titans to an 8-4 record, the first winning season since 2013, but left after one season to go to Blue Springs (Mo.) High. White replaced Ryan Earnest, who was the head coach for three seasons. Earnest replaced Kenny Burton, who retired in 2015 after a successful run for 13 seasons. Burton started in the school’s second year. He guided the Titans to the playoffs seven straight seasons. Burton’s best season was 2010 when Ridgeland went 13-1 and lost to West Point in the 5A semifinals.

​Williams matched Burton a year ago, also losing to West Point in the semifinals. Louisiana-Lafayette signee Zy McDonald passed for 2,984 yards and 35 touchdowns and set a school record with 3,883 yards of total offense. McDonald, who was named the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Football Player of the Year, won’t be back for Dyess, who 13 starters, seven on defense and six offense, will be back this fall. And one of those is one of the best players in Mississippi in rising junior wide receiver Ayden Williams. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Williams caught 58 passes for 765 yards and six TDs. Also, an outstanding defensive back, Williams was named to the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson team as a second team defensive back. 

Photo by Chris Todd

​“Ayden is an incredible talent. We are going to use him a variety of ways and get the ball in his hands a lot. I think Ayden can be a combination of (wide receiver and Auburn signee) Cayden Bridges and (quarterbackand Southern Miss signee) Chandler Pittman at Magee. You will see No. 1 (Williams) all over the field,” Dyess said. “We have a lot of talented players back from last year and I’m looking forward to this fall.” 

​Dyess had an outstanding running and passing quarterback in Pittman, like Ridgeland senior quarterback and Louisiana Lafayette signee Zy McDonald, the Priority One Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Football Player of the Year last season. Pittman ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 132 yards and three TDs in the championship win over Noxubee County. Quarterback, where McDonald was a four-year starter, will be Dyess’ biggest position to fill. One possibly is Dyess’ son, Thomas, who is a rising senior who played a variety of positions at Magee.

​“Not only was Coach a great coach, but he also was a great father figure when I lost my dad,” Magee senior wide receiver and Southern Miss signee Zay Franks said. “Coach stepped up and was a father and a leader. He pushed me to be better than who I was on the field and off the field. Coach Dyess is not your average coach. He comes in programs not only to win and make you a great football player, but to change you as a person. He wants you to be a great father one day.”