Remember Coach Hugh Pepper

Sunday morning, former Ocean Springs Head Coach Hugh Pepper died at the age of 88. He passed away with his wife of 63 years Janice by his side.
Today in Ocean Springs, the man who started coaching football in Ocean Springs back in 1963 and won his first 29 games, was laid to rest.
Family and friends came together at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church to mourn the loss of Coach Hugh Pepper, including former player Richard Schmidt, who says Coach Pepper impacted his life forever. “Coach Pepper was the best. He could motivate and do more with less. He had a way to make us get more out of ourselves than we ever thought possible.”
Pepper was the head football coach at Ocean Springs High School for 28 seasons, earning 191 victories during his tenure. Former linebacker Randall Tynes says calling Pepper just a coach doesn’t do him justice. “He was more than just a coach. He was a father figure. If you needed anything, you could always go to him. Just a super individual.”
Both players say he never cursed to get his point across and will be remembered by calling player by their number rather than their names.
Current Ocean Springs Head Coach Ryan Ross says playing at Hugh Pepper Field just got a little more special. “They were the rock. They were the foundation to start everything. It’s important for us as present day coaches to pass that along to these young guys to come through and understand the tradition and pride.”
Both Tynes and Schmidt appreciate what Pepper taught them because his lessons have stuck with them all these years. “Life lessons, he didn’t just teach you about football. He gave you life lessons. How to be a man, to do the right thing,” said Tynes.
Schmidt said, “He touched a lot of lives. I’m thankful. I’m glad I got to know him and glad I got to play football for him.”

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