When Biloxi Athletic Director Tom Gladney introduced his new football coach, Bobby Hall, at a press conference Wednesday afternoon, it was clear that the newest man to guide the Indians football program seemed relaxed and ready to start his new adventure.
After nine years at Madison Central High School with trips to the playoffs in all but one season, Hall encouraged the Biloxi players, fans and alumni that they have good reason to believe their team will be a serious contender in region 4-6A once again.
"Hiring a head coach is a grueling process," Gladney said. "We were excited to be here to announce our next football coach. We had a lot of interest in the position and we had close to 90 people either apply or show interest in the position."
Hall led the Jaguars to 87 wins in his time at Madison Central. He announced during the middle of the 2014 season that that one would be his last. He wanted to retire after a timespan that included more than 30 years coaching in high school football.
However, his passion to coach never really left after the Jaguars went 6-5 in 11 games and missed the playoffs for the first time since he arrived.
"I told my wife I said I think I've had enough," Hall said. "I'm going to retire. I think I'm going to retire.
"About four weeks later, she comes home and I said, 'I'm bored.' She said, 'What?' I said, 'Yeah, I'm bored. That Biloxi job is open and I'm going to call Tom Gladney and check into that.' The rest is history."
Hall's history includes four state championships in the 1990s. He navigated Louisville to the 1991 title before picking up three titles in Amory (1994, '95, '98).
The 59-year-old had a chance to meet the Biloxi football team early Wednesday morning.
"I told those guys I said, 'Man I hope you like me. I'd prefer for you to like me. I think you'll respect me,'" Hall said. "They say a lot of things about Bobby Hall, but one thing they'll never say and never say was, 'Coach Hall sold me short, he wouldn't work me hard, he wouldn't get me ready to play [and] he wouldn't give me a chance to be successful.' You'll never say that about me. [You'll say] a lot of things, but never that."
Hall also made it clear that he wants everyone involved with Biloxi football to feel like they are actually a part of it. He mentioned during the press conference that practices will be open to the public during the season.
As far as the gameplan goes, Hall recognizes the importance of the kicking game and plans to recruit Biloxi soccer players to the team if that's where the talent lies.
"We'll work a lot of the special teams in the very first part of practice," Hall said. "I usually make a deal with the soccer players that if they come help with the kicking, we'll do the kicking during the first part of practice and then I'll let them go home."
Offensively, Biloxi will switch from the spread offense to an option attack, as well as throw the ball down the field as much as possible. Whether the quarterback starts the play under center or in the shotgun, the Indians will surely want to utilize rising junior Tim Jones in every way imaginable.
But Hall admitted that the offense will be based on the type of playmakers available. If running the football is their strong suit, then Biloxi won't throw the ball vertically as much.
The Indians (3-8, 0-7) missed the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 2008-10 seasons.
With the way that region 4-6A has played out the past couple seasons, Hall and the Indians won't be able to relax at all if they want to turn things around quickly.