Dickey Meeks’ Rejuvenated Pittsburg Team Hopes to Play Contender in 2014
PITTSBURG -- A board in the corner of Pirate Stadium tells you everything you need to know about second-year head coach Dickey Meeks' Pittsburg program to this point in time.
The 1980 season was the banner year, a Class 3A state championship. But spots denoting other quarterfinal and semifinal appearances are open for any future team and the five noted district championship seasons range from 1975 to 2000.
"I think that Pittsburg has a history of having some good teams, but it's been an inconsistent run," Meeks said after Monday's morning practice. "The state championship team in '80, and then you don't hear much from them until the '90s. Two or three good teams. Then we had two or three good teams in the early 2000s. The consistency has been missing. What we would like to do is bring that consistency of winning back."
The Pirates' administration made a big splash in January 2013 when it pulled Meeks from Henderson just two years seasons removed from the Class 3A Division I championship and fresh off guiding the Lions to a third-straight regional championship game.
Meek's resume didn't begin at Henderson though. He won the 1989 Class 4A state championship as the head coach of Chapel Hill and left stints at Pine Tree and Mount Vernon with considerably improved programs for the next man.
Despite a 4-6 regular season record, Pittsburg clinched a playoff berth last season and advanced to the second round of the playoffs in Meeks' first season as a Pirate. The program had missed the postseason for three consecutive seasons.
"To be honest, he brought us a lot of confidence," senior athlete Sir Charles Perkins said. "With his winning record and all the bad seasons we had before he came, he brought us a lot of confidence. He brought this coaching staff and they're building us up to be perfect. We're not perfect, but we're getting there."
Quarterback Billy Kimble interjected.
"Confidence and leadership," the junior signal caller said. "A lot of leadership. He's a great man. He knows what he's doing, obviously. He came here and we had a horrible record. He took us to the playoffs and we went two rounds deep. That just shows us, if we stick to his program, we've got it."
The 2014 Pirates certainly are tricky to pin down. That has not always been the case.
Gladewater head coach John Berry pointed to Meeks' team as a formidable non-district opponent on his schedule. The Bears reached the 3A Division I regional championship game and return most of their star power.
"Pittsburg, I don’t know if they’re under anybody’s radar, certainly not ours, their whole team is coming back from the second round of the playoffs," Berry said. "They’ll be second year into Coach Meeks’ plan."
The Pirates appear the part of an emerging program with big offensive and defensive lines plus some recognizable names aside from Kimble and Perkins. Fre'zarrian Harrison returns to his spot as a linebacker and secondary tailback while Tray Walker is back as the primary running back.
There are 19 lettermen and 15 returning starters returning for play in Pittsburg's District 7-4A Division I.
If not this year, could magic strike a third time? Meeks enjoys arriving in tough situations and just 16 of 36 varsity players are seniors.
"The attitude you develop is probably the most important thing," the head coach said. "I told them the other day that you don't win state championships because of great players. They help win them. They help. But you win them with unselfish attitudes where nobody cares who gets the credit. When we get that attitude, I said, then we'll become a good program."
There was no quiet period during Monday's practice. Each rep received feedback from the coaching staff.
Pittsburg listened closely.
"We will be successful," Kimble said. "We will be successful."