A new season in any athletic competition always brings changes. But never perhaps has one brought as many to one person as the upcoming prep football campaign does for Pascagoula native Eric Denmark.
After 36 years as an assistant coach on five different high schools staffs, all in Jackson County, Denmark will take the reigns of a program for the first time ever as Resurrection takes the field for the 2022 season. “It’s something I never dreamed I’d be doing, I would have been happy to end my coaching career as a lifetime assistant,” Denmark, who has served on the Eagles staff for the past 10 years, said. “This is probably the only school where I would have ever considered the head coaching job. But I love everything about this school and this athletic program. It’s an honor for me to be here in this capacity.”
Denmark’s prep football career in Jackson County is well documented. He was an all-state defensive lineman at Pascagoula High in the early 1980s. After playing for a few years at Ole Miss on the offensive line, he returned home where he has been an assistant coach in some form or fashion over the past three decades plus at Pascagoula High, East Central High, Vancleave High, and Gautier High in addition to RCS.
“I love the game and the kids, that’s why I do it. I never really was interested in becoming a head coach,” Denmark, known to many as “Crazy Horse”, a nickname from his playing days, said. “But then this situation presented itself, and I was more than happy to step up and give it all that I can.”
But for now, there’s a season on the gridiron to get ready for.
Denmark first came to the Class 1A Catholic school in Pascagoula in 2013, when then new head football coach and fellow former Pascagoula High alum Scott Sisson took over the Eagles.
The two proceeded to build a fledgling, almost dormant football program up to never before seen heights over the next few years, climaxing in a program-best 13-1 mark in 2015 while winning the Class 1A South State Championship as well as playing for the state title that season.
“I think we have a shot at being competitive this season. These kids will run through a wall for you if you treat them right. We want to return to the level we were before. That’s what we’re looking to do.”
The Eagles kick off the season on Friday, Aug. 26th hosting St. Patrick.