Mark Dixon brings winning mentality from Galax to Pulaski County

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 6:18 PM EDT
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In 10 years as the head man at Galax High School, all Mark Dixon did was win.

"It was a wonderful time," he said. "Great friendships, we had great success over the 10 years, met a lot of wonderful people, wonderful players who committed so much. Their families committed so much and what they built here, what we all did here is something special and something I'll never forget."

After winning 100 games with the Maroon Tide, Dixon is jumping from Class 1 to Class 4 to take over the reins at Pulaski County, following the departure of Stephen James.

It's a program rife with tradition that Dixon said goes back to the Joel Hicks era of the '80s and '90s.

"Coach Hicks is the first thing that jumped out at everybody, just his legacy and the type of man he is and what he did for that community," Dixon said. "Obviously, the facilities and how much they love football. When I first got to Galax, we were building a culture to be like Pulaski, and to me, it would be hard to go to any job that doesn't have that culture. I'm so used to it, and Pulaski has that football culture."

It's a coaching change for the Cougars that comes as questions remain about how football will proceed amid the pandemic.

Dixon sees it as the first challenge for him and his new coaching staff.

"Our first conversations already have been to come up with a plan to navigate what situations might come our way over the next couple of months and make sure we have a plan in place for however it falls," he said. "I'm certainly hopeful we get to play."

Dixon's Galax teams won a state title in 2015 and made it to two others in his decade spent on the Crooked Road.

He knows the pressure will be on to bring that same success to a football-hungry place like Pulaski County.

"I certainly want to live up to the tradition of the program," he said. "I'm super excited but nervous, really nervous. I want to do a great job. I know how important it is, so there will be some sleepless nights making sure that we're doing it the right way."

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