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SNOW HILL — Former assistant football coach Jason “Jay” Wilson, one of the top candidates when Allen Wooten decided to accept the head football coaching position at Havelock High, was officially announced as the new varsity head football coach at Greene Central on Tuesday.
Wilson was the head junior varsity football and track and field coach for two years at Greene Central. The Princeton High alumnus and former North Carolina A&T football player coached at Kinston, North Johnston and Goldsboro over 11 years before coming to Greene Central. This is Wilson’s first head varsity football position in almost 20 years of coaching. Wilson said the fit of the community helped him feel like now was the time.
“I’ve had several head coaches along the way and I’ve seen several different styles of head coaching so over the years I’ve blended all those styles,” Wilson said. “I feel like I fit in to the community and they’ve accepted me. I’ve had a real good time. It’s a hard working, rural community kind of like where I’m from.”
The Rams reached the postseason in each of Wooten’s six seasons at the helm as he went 39-34 overall. Greene Central athletic director David Bryant said the search wasn’t exclusively internal, but said Wilson fit the mold of what they were looking for, which was a motivator and a coach that could get his players to play hard.
“We had to comb through some good candidates and find the right candidate for Greene Central and we ended up with Jay,” Bryant said. “He’s a great motivator, a great person, the kids relate with him, the coaches respect him and he’ll be a great fit for Greene Central High School going forward.”
Wilson is the ninth head coach and the first African-American head football coach since Greene Central opened its doors in the fall of 1961. The other eight head coaches were Wooten (2013-18), Kenneth Grantham (2008-12), Jim Bob Bryant (2003-07), Spence Grantham (1981-2001), Stewart Smith (1970-80), Doug Swain (1968-69), Joe Holmes (1963-67) and James Corbin (1961-62).
Wilson said he doesn’t plan to change much from what Wooten had in place, but he will put his own flavor on the team. The new head coach has made a name for himself as a high-energy, personable coach who can relate to his players. Wilson said his team will hang their hat on toughness.
“We are just going to work, work, and work some more. And when the guys feel they worked enough, we’re going to work some more,” Wilson said. “We’re here to create young men who will go out in the world and do better and show the world that wherever you’re from — you can be who you want to be if you work hard.”
The entire Greene Central coaching staff, outside of Wooten, is expected to be back. Delmus Willis, assistant at Greene Central from 2013 to now, said he’s glad his longtime friend will be the head coach. Willis said he looks forward to going to work.
“We’re both alpha males so we’ll have some long conversations and sometimes we’ll disagree but I think we’ll be fine,” Willis said. “We both want nothing but the best for the kids. That’s my guy and we’ll be great going forward.”