Pear­son in­forms Putnam City he won’t re­turn

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS - Staff Writer jun­ruh@oklahoman.com BY JA­COB UN­RUH

WARR ACRES — Putnam City foot­ball coach Pre­ston Pear­son preaches fam­ily first to his play­ers and it’s his time to prove he means it.

Pear­son in­formed his play­ers Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon that he will not re­turn next sea­son. He will move back to the Tulsa area to help care for his ail­ing mom and mother-in-law.

He has no job lined up. He just feels it’s time to fo­cus else­where.

“I was putting me be­ing the head foot­ball coach a lit­tle in front of my fam­ily,” Pear­son told The Oklahoman. “One thing we’ve preached is I’ve told them it’s harder to be a man than the man and I’ve re­ally en­joyed be­ing the man. Now I’ve got to try to bow up and be a man and help my wife and fam­ily.”

Pear­son has been the guid­ing force in turn­ing around Putnam City in just three sea­sons.

The Pi­rates went 16-16 and made the play­offs in 2015 and 2017.

They had not been in the post­sea­son since 2008 when he was hired in 2015 after eight sea­sons as Tulsa Union’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor.

At the time of his hire, Pear­son in­her­ited a ros­ter with just 36 play­ers. After go­ing 7-4 last sea­son, the pro­gram re­turns more than 90 play­ers on the ros­ter.

“It’s a sad day for us,” Putnam City Schools ath­letic di­rec­tor Dick Balen­seifen said. “He did a tremen­dous job. He helped sev­eral of our stu­den­tath­letes ob­tain col­lege schol­ar­ships and es­sen­tially turned the pro­gram around and put it on a good foun­da­tion.”

Now Pear­son wants to re­store his fam­ily.

For the past eight months, Pear­son’s wife, Lana, lived in Tulsa tend­ing to her mom and mother-in-law. She drove to Putnam City on the week­ends to see Pear­son coach and see her son Kyler play.

“She just needs help,” Pear­son said. “To be hon­est, I’ve been self­ish. I prob­a­bly should have went in the sum­mer and helped. My self­ish­ness want­ing to be the head guy and I knew we were go­ing to be good. I wanted to stay and see the fruits of our la­bor, so to speak. I prob­a­bly put our team ahead of my fam­ily and I prob­a­bly shouldn’t have done that.

“I told the kids to­day I was sorry. I’m try­ing to show the kids I prac­tice what I preach.”

Pre­ston Pear­son

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