Taylorsville head football coach Mitch Evans is headed to Seminary. The Covington County School Board approved the hire of Evans as Seminary’s head football coach on Monday night.
"My time here [at Taylorsville] has been my whole life," said Evans. "I played here, graduated from here, and came back to coach here. I've been coaching at Taylorsville in some form since 2009, so I've been a Tartar my whole life and will always be a Tartar my entire life. Once you're a Tartar, that never changes. It's always going to be deep down in you.
"But I'm excited about the new opportunity [at Seminary]. Anything that's a challenge or competitive always makes you better. I'm a competitor, and I look forward to getting started soon."
Evans, who led the Tartars to three straight 2A State Championship appearances, winning two of those in 2018 and 2020, compiled a 44-3 record during his tenure as head coach at Taylorsville. He also helped the Tartars win the 2017 2A State Championship as an offensive coordinator.
“I was able to be a part of eight State Championships in Taylorsville’s history as a player and coach, so there is nothing but good things to say about Taylorsville,” said Evans. “From the relationships with the kids to the administration I’ve dealt with, I cannot complain about any of them. Your job at Taylorsville is to win football games, baseball games, or whatever you’re involved in. That’s the way it is at Taylorsville. I’ll always be indebted to them.”
He will replace Brian Rials, who retired as Seminary's head coach in the offseason after 16 years with the Bulldogs. Rials joined Seminary's staff in 2002 as an assistant coach before taking over the head position in 2005.
Seminary has a long history of successful head coaches. Prior to Rials' hire as head coach in 2005, one of Mississippi's best, Lance Mancuso, led Seminary to a state title win in 2003 and ended his tenure with a 42-19 record. Mancuso led Bassfield and Jefferson Davis County to multiple state titles after leaving Seminary.
"Seminary had [Lance] Mancuso who won them their last State Championship back in 2003, then, of course, he went on to win a few more himself later on," said Evans. "He's one of the best all-time. You don't win that many games by not being a good coach. Coach [Brian] Rials was there many years, and I know he played for a State Championship. They've always been well-coached while he was there, and we played them the majority of those years."
Seminary, who has been a Wing-T offense for decades now, will convert to the style of offense Evans ran at Taylorsville. Evans said the transition would be a challenge.
“I think the biggest challenge will be for whoever I’m allowed to bring in or whoever is there now will be changing what they do to what I do,” said Evans. “Mancuso and Rials were both Wing-T guys. That will be a challenge for us as coaches, getting the spread implemented. Throwing the ball and finding the right quarterback, that kind of stuff. The spring and summer will be big. It won’t be like a light switch that you turn on and have an offense as we had at Taylorsville the last 6-8 years. It takes time to build that. It takes communication, it takes work, but it is exciting to take on a new challenge and put my stamp on it.”
The decision to leave Taylorsville, as Evans said, was the most difficult decision he's had to make.
"All the kids who I have had relationships with, that's what I'll miss the most," Evans added. "That's the hardest thing I've had to do was tell those kids that I wouldn't be their coach next year. It was tough. I can handle adults, but the kids know it affects them a bit differently. It was tough, but I'm sure they will understand in time. It is part of it all. I hope no one holds and ill-will or grudges."
The new school, new classification, and new region will seem similar for Evans.
“Honestly, the way I’ve always done it with scheduling, we played those teams anyway [teams in higher classifications],” said Evans. “We played Jefferson Davis County, Seminary, and Raleigh. We played all those teams, so I know what I’m getting into. Everything we do in this business is to be the best we can be, and I want to challenge myself to be the best. I think Seminary was the best place to go. The district is tough, and this past season was one of the first recently where the State Championship didn’t run through that district in a long time.”