From the Cheap Seats
Bobby "Butch" Burney | News-Telegram Sports Editor

July 22, 2004 - When school let out in May, Sulphur Springs head football coach Brad Turner didn't think there would be any turnover in his coaching staff, but that has changed.

The district has hired three three new coaches, but they're not new faces.

All three of the coaches have Sulphur Springs ties.

Rodney Barthelemess was assistant football and head soccer coach for the Wildcats in the mid- to late-'90s, and returns this year as co-defensive coordinator, sharing the title with Dean Lasseter. He takes the spot previously filled by defensive coordinator Scott Wells, who has taken a similar position with Abilene Cooper.

Barthelemess will coach safeties on the defensive side.

After leaving Sulphur Springs, Barthelemess returned to his hometown to coach at Kilgore, where he played under coach James Cameron before the coach moved to Sulphur Springs.

Coach Turner said the transition will be an easy one for Barthelemess, who has coached in this defensive scheme here and at Kilgore in addition to playing for the legendary Coach Cameron.

While at SSHS, Barthelemess also coached Andy Holt in soccer. Holt has been the district's Coach of the Year each of the last two seasons.

Martin Bryant, son of former coach Harold Bryant and journalism teacher Mary Nell Bryant, completed his playing career at Ouachita Baptist last fall and has been hired as a coach at the Middle School.

Bryant was an All-District tight end at Sulphur Springs and did quite a bit of substitute teaching at the high school last spring.

The opening for him was created when Josh Ragsdale was moved from SSMS to high school this fall. Ragsdale will join the freshman staff and be the video/computer coordinator. That is, once the computer and video equipment, which was stolen two months ago, is replaced.

As Ragsdale moves up, so does Kyle Abshire, who makes the jump from freshman to varsity staff.

"I like to bump people up when they are doing a good job, and both of these guys have done a good job, so they deserve to get moved up when the openings are there," Turner said.

The varsity opening was created when Rustin Ramsey left SSHS to go to Elysian Fields.

That also allowed a shuffling of position coaches as Carl Hornback goes from coaching linebackers to return to the offensive line, which he has coached here before, and Kell Clopton goes from coaching offensive line to running backs, which he did at Southern Arkansas.

Triston Abron, a former Sulphur Springs Wildcat who played and coached at Louisiana College, returns to the staff here to coach cornerbacks.

He takes the place of John McCullough, who moves over to head volleyball coach. McCullough will now coach volleyball and softball.

In another move, Lawson Crook moves up to athletic coordinator at the Middle School, taking the position of Jim Moore who will still teach but will no longer coach.


The new grass is down at Gerald Prim Stadium, but Coach Turner has secured an alternate site in case the field is not ready to be played on for the Wildcats' first game, Aug. 27, against Jacksonville. The Wildcats' opening scrimmage a week earlier is on the road at Whitehouse, and their second game is at Forney.

So, if they don't play on Aug. 27, the Wildcats first home game would be Sept. 10 against Mesquite Poteet.

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