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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

New faces to pace Bulldog sidelines

Sunday, August 8, 2004

From left: Chad King, Terrance Sterling and Jackie Johnson.
SIKESTON - When Sikeston High School announced the hiring of new head coach Jerry Dement in January, it marked just the beginning of a coaching overhaul at the school.

When longtime head coach Charlie Vickery resigned following the 2003 season, the Bulldogs not only had to replace him, but two assistants that also moved on.

Terry Flanigan went back to Scott City to take over the head coaching duties that he had from 1995-98. Also, Brad Blackman resigned from coaching to take an administrative position at Sikeston High School.

All of a sudden, there were three holes to fill on the coaching staff.

Dement quickly went to work and was able to bring in three new faces to join retained assistants Alan Scheeter and Jay Eckert.

Jerry Dement
Chad King, who coached on the Sikeston junior high level last year, has been moved up to the varsity to coach offensive and defensive linemen.

Also jumping on board is Jackie Johnson, who previously was the head coach at Caruthersville and interim head coach Scott City last season. Johnson has been assigned defensive coordinator for the Bulldogs.

The third new face is Terrance Sterling, a Cape Girardeau native that played for Dement at Cape Central High School in 1993. Sterling will coach running backs and linebackers. Scheeter, will continue working with wide receivers and defensive backs while Eckert will continue work on the offensive and defensive lines.

Dement, who was previously the defensive coordinator, will now call the plays for the Bulldogs.

"We've got a good blend of older guys, who have been with different systems with a lot of experience, and mixing them with a lot of young enthusiasm," said Dement. "We're pleased with what we've been able to get on board. We're excited about it and we're going to try some new ways to do things and see how they work out."

But the changes didn't stop with the varsity. Dement also brought in some new faces for the junior high program.

Steve Bays, a Farmington native who previously coached the Potosi varsity, will be the head junior high coach.

"He's going to head up our junior high program and help us on Friday nights," said Dement. "We're really pleased with him. He brings a lot of organizational skills, a lot of maturity and he's got a really good solid background in football.

"Your junior high program is just like your little league -- that's the roots of the tree. You've got to be solid down there and lay the foundation for your high school program, which is what it's all about."

Also joining the junior high staff is Sikeston native Steve Drake, a first-year assistant. Brent Taylor and Tim Young will stay on as assistants at the junior high.

King, a native of Fredericktown, played alongside Eckert on the line at Southeast Missouri State University.

Johnson is originally from Corning, Ark. He coached at Caruthersville for seven years, spending three of those years as the head coach. Slated to be an assistant, he took over the Scott City head coaching job when then head coach Jason Burkman unexpectedly resigned prior to the season. A running back and linebacker in high school, Sterling was one of Dement's star players at Cape Central before taking his services to SEMO.

Dement says getting the new coaches took some politicking and recruiting.

"Coaching is like any other business, there's a lot of networking involved," he said. "We're pleased that they found our school district attractive because we think we have a real good product at Sikeston and a fine school system. Our school system was very good about allowing us to search out and find good, qualified people.

"We were lucky enough to find some of these guys. On the other hand, we were pleased that they chose us. They had other options, but they found our school system very accommodating and something they wanted to be involved in."

And while big things are expected out of the three new coaches, Dement says retaining Scheeter and Eckert was also quite a coup for the program.

"It's always nice to have a good connection to the past," said Dement. "That's what we have, not only with myself, but also to have guys that have been through our system. They know the community and the community knows them.

"One thing I'll say about all these guys is they have proven themselves to be very hard workers, particularly over the summer. They've got a lot of interest in the kids and making the program as positive as possible."

And while Dement feels he's assembled a good staff on paper, he also knows the bottom line.

"Just win," he said with a chuckle. "We've hired good people, but now we've got to go out and win ballgames. That's a big part of it too."