Hugh Fountain hired as new WS Neal football coach

Published 2:45 pm Monday, June 13, 2022

The saga surrounding longtime football coach Hugh Fountain has seemingly come to an end as the Escambia County Board of Education approved the hiring of Fountain as the new athletic director and head football coach at WS Neal High School on June 13.

Fountain is a longtime high school football coach in the state that has spent almost the entirety of his football career in Pike County and Escambia County. Fountain is a Brewton native that played high school football at WS Neal and played in college at Troy State University. After serving for one year at Evergreen High School, his first head coaching job, Fountain returned to his alma mater at WS Neal for seven years. He then returned to Pike County and served as the head football coach at Charles Henderson High School for 16 years.

In 2012, Fountain returned to Escambia County to serve as head football coach and athletic director at Escambia Academy, where his teams won two state championships and finished runner-up five other times.

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On May 30, Pike Liberal Arts announced that Fountain would be returning to Pike County once again as the new head football coach and athletic director at Pike Liberal Arts School. On June 1, the school released a statement from Fountain on his return to Troy.

“I’m excited to meet the boys and see who’s in there,” Fountain said in the statement “Obviously, they’ve been the state champions the last two years in AISA, now we’re going to the AHSAA. It’s going to be a new experience for us and it can be something that we are proud of.

“The greatest thing about getting to come back to Troy is that I now get to just coach football. That was really the driving force of me coming here.”

Just a few days later Fountain informed Pike Liberal Arts Head of School Eric Burkett that he was resigning from his position, less than a week after accepting it. Burkett said in a statement that Fountain informed him that he was departing Pike for “another opportunity to be closer to his family.” Fountain has still not commented publicly on the decision to leave Pike.

Rumors began swirling on social media about Fountain’s next destination, which seemed to be his alma mater. The issue being that WS Neal already had a coach, Brandon Wilcox, who had been at WS Neal for just one season. Just two days later, Wilcox confirmed through his social media that he had been relieved of his duties.

“After reading unconfirmed ‘anonymous’ Tweets and posts of someone replacing me as head football coach on Monday via Twitter and Facebook, it was confirmed to me through the administration before our first summer practice, that there would be a change yesterday morning,” Wilcox said.

On June 13, the school board held a special called meeting. The school confirmed with The Messenger that the board approved the hiring of Fountain as head football coach and athletic director at WS Neal.