A two-time state semifinalist is on his way to McAlester.
McAlester Public Schools hired Poteau’s Forrest Mazey as the new head football coach of the Buffaloes at Monday’s school board meeting.
Mazey, 37, is familiar with the area, saying he attended Emerson Elementary School when he was younger, before moving around from Durant to Hugo before graduating from Coalgate in 2000.
The former quarterback played college ball at Independence Community College in Kansas and then Northeastern State University.
He guided Poteau to the Class 4A state semifinals in 2018, losing, 21-11, to eventual state champion Tuttle Nov. 23. The Pirates went a perfect 7-0 in District 4A-4 play this past season en route to a district championship.
Mazey led Poteau to a 12-1 record in 2018. The lone blemish was being one game short of a state title game appearance. His overall record in four seasons at Poteau was 37-11.
His first year with the Pirates in 2015 mirrored the 2018 campaign, in which Poteau began the season 12-0, only to lose in the state semifinals.
One of those 12 wins this past year included a 38-16 win Sept. 7 at McAlester.
“They had some pieces,” Mazey said of the Buffs. “They had some kids that scared me quite a bit.
“They have to put it together and have a culture about them of toughness and get that instilled in them and get that done from day one,” he continued.
Mazey said he felt he could bring the energy — the boost — needed to put a team over the hump.
Poteau hired Mazey in May 2015 after previous stops in Pratt, Kansas, Atoka and Mangum, according to multiple sources.
“He is very energetic, football wise; he knows lots of Xs and Os. He’s done a good job at all the programs he’s been at,” McAlester athletic director John Homer said, adding there are “too many things” to nail down about him.
Mazey is a believer in the spread offense, saying he believes in being physical with the run game while also passing when need be.
He replaces James Singleton, who went 26-18, including the postseason, in four seasons with the Buffaloes. Singleton announced his resignation Dec. 5, looking to make decisions about his future. He had previously taken McAlester to the Class 5A state quarterfinals in 2015 and 2016.
The Buffs, however, suffered back-to-back losing seasons in 2017 and 2018. McAlester finished this past season with a 4-6 record, missing the playoffs on the final day of the season.
He said “without question” leaving Poteau for McAlester was a tough decision. He said he did not view Poteau as a stepping stone type of job, but rather just that the McAlester opportunity happened to come up.
“The kids and the community are outstanding there (at Poteau),” Mazey said. “I’ll miss those guys a lot. They gave me everything I asked.”
Homer said he made his decision Jan. 9. He said nearly 40 people applied for the position, and interviewed five.
“I think our coaches, I think our kids, are ready to get the next chapter under way, and I think that we’re ready to go,” he said.
Mazey said he is most excited about the chance to build something to what it was.
Contact Corey Stolzenbach at firstname.lastname@example.org