Athletic Director David Sykes and Varsity Head Football Coach Larry Weems
Jackson Academy Athletic Director David Sykes announced Wednesday, January 27 that Larry Weems will be Jackson Academy’s varsity head football coach. Weems brings to JA 39 years of coaching experience, with 19 of those years as a high school head coach.
“Coach Weems shares our ideals of inspiring young men to reach their potential and lead lives of purpose. We believe he is a great fit for the job to ensure not only the success of the program but even more importantly, that our mission as a school continues to be fulfilled through the program,” said Sykes.
Weems most recently served as head football coach for Meridian High School where he led the team to a 107-31 record. His teams appeared in playoffs each of 10 seasons, earning the state championship in 2008 and runner-up in 2006 and 2010. As head football coach at Pearl High School from 2000-2006, he led teams to five consecutive state play-off appearances. This week, Weems was named as one of five inductees into the Mississippi Association of Coaches’ Hall of Fame. Weems holds a master’s degree in secondary administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in education from Mississippi State University, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree.
“I’m extremely honored to be selected as head football coach and to be a part of the JA community. JA is a top quality place to get an education and to be involved in athletics and other programs,” said Weems. “I’m looking forward to developing relationships with JA students and their families and contributing to the development of student athletes. It’s a special opportunity to be selected. I’m glad I’m the guy.”
Weems was selected from a pool of nearly 60 applicants from six states. A search committee of JA administrators, parents, alumni, and former athletes who played at Jackson Academy, in college and professionally worked to secure the most qualified candidate in the weeks since the position was announced in November 2015. Members of the search committee were President Cliff Kling; Headmaster Pat Taylor; Athletic Director David Sykes; Steve Carmody, former JA parent, 4-year football letterman at the University of Southern Mississippi and former team member of the Denver Broncos; Chris McNeil, current JA parent, 4-year football letterman at Mississippi State University and former team member of the Miami Dolphins; Hastings Puckett, JA alumnus and current parent; and Andrew Ritter, JA alumnus and 4-year football letterman at the University of Mississippi.
“As impressed as the search committee was with Coach Weems’ coaching record, and his record is remarkable by any measure, the search committee was equally impressed by the positive comments and many accolades shared by his former players with committee members,” said President Cliff Kling. “It is evident that Coach Weems forms meaningful and lasting relationships with his players, an ability so important to our student-centered school.”
Jackson Academy has earned nine Mississippi Association of Independent Schools state football championships. The independent K-12 college preparatory school in the heart of Jackson, Miss., serves 1,293 students. The school’s mission is, “Within our nurturing and spiritual community, Jackson Academy inspires and equips each student to lead a life of purpose and significance.”