Pittsburg Hires Dickey Meeks as New Football Coach + Athletic Director
PITTSBURG -- The last four schools to hire Dickey Meeks have seen an improvement in their football programs during his tenure. Pittsburg hopes to be the fifth on that list.
Pittsburg ISD's board unanimously approved Meeks' hire Friday evening before a room full of well-wishers at the district's central office. Meeks' first day at Pittsburg is Jan. 28. The board also approved the hiring of five assistant coaches, including four for the new football staff.
Meeks, who was selected from "almost 140 applicants," according to PISD Superintendent Judy Pollan, replaces Robert Manley, who resigned in December. Manley led Pittsburg to a 40-28 record in six seasons, including three consecutive playoff appearances from 2007-09, culminating in a 12-2 state semifinal run in 2009. The Pirates missed the playoffs each of the last three seasons and finished 2-8 in 2012.
Meeks arrives in Pittsburg after a seven-year stint in Henderson, which he led to the 2010 Class 3A Division I state championship, the second title victory of his career. Meeks, who went 44-39 at Henderson, led the Lions to a 33-10 record during the last three seasons, which have seen Henderson play at least 14 games every year. Henderson went 11-3 in 2011, which ended in a 3A Division I state semifinal loss, and 9-5 in 2012, which ended in the 3A Division II Region II championship.
There's no doubt Meeks leaves a consistent talent pool behind in Henderson, but he understands that. He spent six seasons, all of which resulted in playoff trips, in Mount Vernon before taking the Henderson job prior to the 2006 season. Mount Vernon is 26 miles northwest of Pittsburg, so the familiarity with the area helped Meeks make the decision to leave a Henderson program he built to a level the Lions had never enjoyed.
"We always thought we'd come back (to the area), but we didn't know when it would be. When the (Pittsburg) job came open it gave us the opportunity to do that a couple or three years ahead of time, that's all," Meeks said. "I've always thought the tradition here in the middle '70s and '80s was as good as anywhere in Texas, and hopefully we can kinda bring some of that back."
From 1975-87, Pittsburg went 110-43 and reached the playoffs 11 times in 13 years. The Pirates went 15-0 in 1980, when they won the program's only state championship, a 13-2 victory over Van Vleck that punctuated a season in which Pittsburg allowed three touchdowns all year.
Meeks is 149-122-4 since 1989, when he took over a Chapel Hill program that he led to Class 4A state championship and 12-4 record after a 6-4 regular season. In seven seasons at Chapel Hill, Meeks went 48-31-4. In each stop with Chapel Hill and Henderson, Meeks led the program to three playoff appearances in seven seasons and went 11-2 in the postseason.
Meeks, who is 24-11 in the playoffs since 1989, spent four seasons at Pine Tree starting in 1996. He led PT to a 15-26 record, including one of the Pirates' three playoff appearances in the last 36 seasons. After that came his six-year stint at Mount Vernon, which he took to six consecutive playoffs and led to a 42-26 record.
"When we looked at coach Meeks' past experience, the tremendous success that he has had, his ability to attract excellent assistant coaches, and his relationship with students, we just felt like he just stood out above the rest," said Pittsburg Superintendent Judy Pollan. "We feel very blessed to have him."
Meeks also said it felt like the right time to start anew elsewhere, and Pittsburg was the perfect spot.
"I'm about a six- or seven-year guy," Meeks said. "When you get done what you wanna do, you look for something else to do. Some people can stay and hold on, but that's just the way I've always been."
One thing is certain: Meeks won't miss the "District of Doom." Despite the Lions' uprecedented string of successful playoff runs, including the 2010 state championship, they never finished higher than third in those three years.
"When you can get out of (the "District of Doom"), it's a good deal," Meeks said and laughed. "It's a great district to be in with some great teams, but it's so dadgum hard to get out of (into the playoffs)."
Meeks believes Pittsburg has the talent pool in place to get back to the level it was a few years ago and in the 1980s.
"(Talent) is one thing that I think there will always be (in Pittsburg)," he said. "You start developing that talent with a belief system. This game is more than 50 percent mental, and the belief system's the whole thing."
The five assistant coaches who were also hired are as follows ...
- Rickey Joe Meeks (offensive coordinator)
- Matthew Woodard (defensive coordinator)
- Jeremy Burleson (offensive line)
- Colby Dickson (receivers)
- Whitney Trimble (girls coach)
Dickey Meeks' East Texas Head Coaching Tenures
- 1989-95 (seven seasons): 48-31-4 (1989 4A state championship)
- Chapel Hill's seven seasons prior to Meeks' arrival: 28-42-1
- 1996-99 (four seasons): 15-26
- Pine Tree's four seasons prior to Meeks' arrival: 7-32-1
- 2000-05 (six seasons): 42-26
- Mount Vernon's six seasons prior to Meeks' arrival: 32-28-2
- 2006-12 (seven seasons): 44-39 (2010 3A Division I state championship)
- Henderson's seven seasons prior to Meeks' arrival: 38-37