By MIKE WILLIAMS
Head football coach Mark Dixon won’t be coming back to lead the Pulaski County Cougars.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the county’s school board, Dixon’s name was included in a list of school employees who had either resigned or retired.
In Dixon’s case, he was listed as both “resigned/retired.”
“Coach Dixon contacted me a few weeks ago to state that he was retiring,” said School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Siers on Wednesday.
Back on April 14, the school system issued a press release stating that Dixon would be taking a leave of absence to “undergo treatment for a medical issue related to his previous career in professional football.”
“Pulaski County Public Schools and Pulaski County High School look forward to having Coach Dixon back and in charge of Cougar Football as soon as possible,” the release continued.
Dixon, 51 played his college football at the University of Virginia before spending nine seasons of professional football including stints with NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League. His professional career ended with a five-year run in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins where he started 60 games on their offensive line.
Dixon was hired in May 2020 to take over the Cougars following the resignation of Stephen James.
Dixon’s first season at PCHS was what is referred to as the “COVID season.” The Cougars went 4-3, losing in the first round of the Virginia High School League playoffs.
Last season, the Cougars went 4-6 and just missed making the playoffs again.
Prior to coming to Pulaski County, Dixon had a very successful run at Galax High School, where he first broke into coaching. During his 10-year run at Galax, Dixon compiled a 101-35 mark with the Maroon Tide. During that decade, the Tide won a state title in 2015 and were runners up in both 2011 and 2019.
Included in the April press release on Dixon was the announcement that Assistant Coach Cam Akers had been appointed as the interim head coach to run all team operations during Dixon’s leave of absence.
Siers on Wednesday stated that Coach Cam Akers is still the interim head coach.
“We do not intend to make any changes to the plan that was put in place when Coach Dixon was granted a leave of absence,” Siers stated.
Akers is a 2008 graduate of Pulaski County who played for former head coach, Jack Turner.
He joined Dixon’s staff in June of last year after five seasons at the helm of the Auburn Eagles football program in Riner.
Akers, 32 led Auburn to a 20-30 record during those five years.