Former USM standout Shelton Gandy returns home to coach Wayne County football

Former USM standout Shelton Gandy returns home to coach Wayne County football
New Wayne County football coach Shelton Gandy. Courtesy: WDAM

WAYNESBORO, MS (WDAM) - Football has taken Shelton Gandy around the country, but he has returned home after accepting the position of Wayne County's new head football coach.

A former Waynesboro Central High standout, Gandy is eager to begin his head coaching career in the area that he grew up. Gandy spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Tyler Robert E. Lee High school in East Texas.

The former Southern Miss running back (1984-88) has passed through a number of places on his coaching journey including a 2006 summer internship with the Seattle Seahawks, a season as the offensive backs coach at Louisiana Tech, four seasons as an assistant under Jeff Bower at USM (2000-04), three years as the offensive coordinator of East Mississippi Community College (1994-97) and a year coaching under Bubba Davis at Wayne County (1993).

Needless to say, Gandy is happy to be back home.

"When you're coaching, it's always about kids and helping kids out," Gandy said. "To have an opportunity to come back and help my community out [is exciting]. My whole thing is, here at Wayne County we're one team and it's one county and that's Wayne County. We've got to get our pride back. Coach [Todd] Mangum's, he's always done a great job. To give me the keys and have an opportunity to coach these guys, man I'm tickled to death."

During his four seasons at USM, Gandy finished his career as the fifth all-time leading rusher. At Waynesboro Central from 1981-83, the high school All-American rushed for over 6,000 yards – including more than 2,600 yards in his senior season.

Coach Gandy wasn't the only home-grown hire introduced at Wayne County on Tuesday.

Gina Skelton was announced as the War Eagles' new athletic director. Skelton, who returned to Waynesboro last year to coach girls basketball, has over 35 years of coaching experience in multiple sports.

The four-time state champion coach in girls basketball led Wayne County to two state titles.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence and the opportunity that my administration and our school board has given me to serve as athletic director of the Wayne County school district," Skelton said. "I say the word serve because I believe to be a great leader you must first serve. By that I mean helping other people and creating opportunities and possibilities that maybe others don't see, and doing it in a positive way."