Photo/James Pugh

Along with continuing to lead Hattiesburg High School’s football program, Tony Vance will now lead the school’s athletics program as a whole. Following unanimous approval from the board Tuesday night, Vance was announced as the school’s new athletic coordinator. 

Vance replaces Cheyenne Trussell, who announced in December he was leaving Hattiesburg for the same position at Starkville High School. 

“I’m excited to be the one chosen to lead our athletic program,” said Vance. “I’m just looking forward to building on the success and the legacy that Dr. Trussell left behind.”

Prior to arriving in Hattiesburg in 2013, Vance served as head football coach at Charleston High School for five seasons. In addition to leading the Charleston Tigers on the gridiron, Vance was also the school’s athletic director and assistant principal. He believes that experience helped ready him for today. 

“It’s something I’ve done before. I certainly wasn’t expecting Dr. Trussell to depart. But it’s something I was certainly prepared for.”

Vance says his goals as Hattiesburg’s athletic coordinator are simple. 

“Number one, student achievement. Make sure our student athletes graduate and have the opportunity to do whatever they choose to do after high school, whether it’s going to college, the workforce, military or whatever they choose to do. I wanna make sure they have those options.

“Number two, it’s making sure we’re able to obtain and recruit quality teachers and coaches. That’s like I told somebody, if you’ve got good coaches and a good program, you’ve always got people trying to hire them away from you. That’s just part of it, but you just wanna retain those guys. When they do leave, we wanna replace them with good quality people.”

According to Vance, it’s those people, including Trussell, who will make the transition to his added role smooth. 

“The key to any organization or program is people. You win with people. You surround yourself with people and let them do their jobs. Certainly I’m around some really good people, coaches and administration. That makes my job a lot easier.

“And I’ll seek advice and guidance from Dr. Trussell, because he’s the best I’ve been around. I will definitely reach out to him and pick his brain on a lot of things and just go from there.”