Family culture, winning equally important to George County football coach

Family culture, winning equally important to George County football coach

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - From 2001-10, the George County Rebels couldn't miss the playoffs and had its strongest run in 2007 with a trip to the 5A state championship game.

That was the last season that George County won a playoff game.

The Rebels cracked the postseason the following three years, but were ousted in the first round all three times -- twice by Meridian and once by Brandon.

Matt Caldwell, who was named Athletic Director and Head Coach at George County in February, will take over the Rebels after spending the previous four seasons at Taylorsville. Despite losing in the third round of the postseason each time, he helped the Tartars become one of the toughest teams to beat in the 2A ranks.

"Dealing with the staff and dealing with the higher number of players is going to be a bit of a challenge because it's something I'm not used to," Caldwell said. "It's beneficial because there's a lot more players to choose from and a lot of coaches that have knowledge of the game."

George County has eight members on the coaching staff, while there were just five on the staff at Taylorsville. Caldwell's offensive scheme of choice is the spread, a style that he compares to Clemson or Auburn.

It should come as no surprise that Caldwell's life revolves around football. He was an offensive lineman at Mississippi State from 1993-95 and played for Jackie Sherrill, who is MSU's all-time winningest head coach.

The lessons that Caldwell learned from Sherrill and other coaches like Bruce Arians, Watson Brown and Rick Trickett are ones that he wants to continue to pass along to the kids at George County.

"There's more to life than football," Caldwell said. "Of course we all love it, breathe it and we want to win, but I want to help them become good husbands and good fathers.

"We're going to create a good family culture on the team of 'Hey, we're going to care for you as people and you're going to care about each other as brothers on the team.' If you do those first two things, winning is a byproduct of that."

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