BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After four seasons as head coach of the Fighting Irish football team, Jim Bloomfield and the school have decided to part ways.
Bloomfield cited a “difference of opinion about the future of the football program" as the reason for the move.
“We talked about the direction of the program and some different aspects of the program and where I thought we were and where we should be," St. Patrick athletic director Eddie Burger said. "We just came to the decision that we thought that we needed to go in a different direction.”
The former longtime Vancleave head coach leaves St. Patrick after posting a 6-36 overall record in four years.
“I do offer many thanks to the student-athletes for their hard work and dedication to the football program for our four years," Bloomfield said. "I wish them all the best in the upcoming season.”
Burger maintains this was not an easy decision, but one necessary for the future of the program.
“I have a ton of respect for (Bloomfield) both as a man and as a coach," Burger said. "This was not a personal decision. It was something that after long, hard, careful consideration and a lot of praying over it, it was just my view that it was an opportunity for us to possibly make a change and really try to reignite any type of fire that we could within the program itself.”
The Fighting Irish did show improvement under Bloomfield, snapping a 23-game losing streak in 2017 and getting out to a 3-1 start last season. Bloomfield believes the program is in a position to continue in the right direction, despite some inherent challenges.
“Four years ago, when I took the job, it had three returning starters and (a) very, very difficult situation where the kids had basically given up on playing football," Bloomfield said. “We have 16 returning starters coming back next year, so the future with them is a little better than it was there when I got there.”
“The hardest thing for us is typically we don’t have access to what I would call a ‘feeder system’ in terms of a youth football program,” Burger said. “So realistically, when we get kids here that want to play football, we’re starting from scratch, or starting with kids that haven’t played in a couple of years, and it’s challenging. I understand that, and I respect Coach Bloomfield for what he was able to accomplish.”
Burger said the school will soon begin their search for a replacement, hoping to find a candidate who can “bring a lot of energy” and build excitement around the program.
As for Bloomfield, he said he will be coaching in 2019 but is not at liberty to provide any details at this time.