Byrd, Olive leave WCCA

Published 12:18 am Thursday, May 27, 2010

WOODVILLE — Wilkinson County Christian Academy is set to kick off a new era in athletics this coming fall.

With football coach Sam Byrd and baseball coach Ray Olive both departing, WCCA headmaster Carrie Cupit said WCCA would be losing two coaches with a combined 20 years experience coaching the Rams.

“Coach Byrd was here for 11 years, and Coach Ray for nine years, and we’re going to miss them greatly,” Cupit said.

“Coach Ray also coached girls basketball and softball in addition to baseball. He’s moving on to be the head football coach at Amite School Center.

“Since Coach (Paul) Hayles left, Coach Byrd is probably the person who knows the most about the ins-and-outs of WCCA. He can tell you where anything is and how it works. He was our football coach and athletic director.”

For Byrd, the reason for stepping down had to do with being closer to his family, he said.

“I’m moving out to Brooksville, which is about 30 miles past Starkville, to start an agricultural business with my dad,” Byrd said.

“It was a very difficult decision to leave WCCA. I’ve been there 11 years, and they’re wonderful folks. Woodville is a wonderful place to live, but this was just an opportunity to be with my dad and take care of my family.”

As for whether he might want to return to coaching some day, Byrd said only God knows what his future has in store for him.

“I’ll leave it up to Him. Whatever His will is, that’s what we’ll go with,” Byrd said.

Byrd and Olive’s replacements have already been hired, Cupit said. Billy Caston will move from North Pike High School to coach football, varsity boys basketball and track, and serve as athletic director. Hattiesburg High School’s Raymond McDaniel will take over for baseball, girls basketball and softball.

“Coach Caston is also a history teacher, and Coach McDaniel will teach P.E. and health. Both of them have master’s degrees, and we’re looking forward to having them on board,” Cupit said.

Caston said his move from North Pike to WCCA had to do with wanting to get back in the game, so to speak.

“I’ve just been coaching track these past four years, and I missed going into the coffee house and people saying, ‘There’s that coach. Why didn’t he go for it on fourth and two?’” Caston said.

“I just had that itch. I’ve always admired the Rams program from afar, and as athletic director., I want the boys and girls programs to be successful.”

And he knows he has his work cut of for him with getting the Rams football team to where he wants it.

“We’re rebuilding, but I hope we’re rebuilding to win. Everyone says we have an awesome fourth, fifth and sixth grade group of athletes, but we can’t keep taking brow beatings, or they won’t want to be part of the program,” he said.

“We’re going to attempt to win, but it’s going to be an uphill battle. We have around 17 kids right now, I’m going to try and recruit kids within our school to help us out.”