Lauding his loyalty, championship resume and his charisma in Sunday’s interview, Crestview assistant principal Dexter Day announced Thursday that former junior college national champion Tim Hatten has been selected to succeed Kevin Pettis as the Bulldogs’ head football coach and athletic director.
“He’s a great guy, he has a great resume and he had a great interview,” said Day, who said the hiring won’t be finalized until the Okaloosa County School Board approves him at Monday’s 6 p.m. meeting.
Hatten’s most recent title was head football coach at Pearl River (Miss.) Community College, where he lifted the program to new heights in his 11 years at the helm before resigning in October following a 3-6 campaign. The Sumrall, Miss. native finished with a collective 80-30 record, leading the Wildcats to a NJCAA national championship in 2004 and – ending a 27-year school drought at the state level – four MACJC state championships in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
Before his time at PRCC, he spent nine seasons as head football coach at Haines City (Fla.) High, where he posted a 75-29 record.
“He’s been in only two places, each for more than eight years, and he should be a great fit here,” Day said.
That success across two platforms is what made Hatten stand out among the 98 original applicants, which were dwindled down to 13, nine and then five, all of whom interviewed on Sunday.
If approved by the school board, Hatten inherits a program that hasn’t won a district title since 2005 and is coming off back-to-back 4-6 campaigns under Pettis, who resigned five weeks ago to become head football coach at Sebastian River High.