THS graduate named head football coach at Winston-Salem State
The year was 1991. A linebacker named Perez Boulware donned his No. 42 Thomasville High School jersey at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, helping lead the Bulldogs to the 2-A state championship. More than two decades after the crowning achievement, he continues to make the Thomasville community proud.
At a press conference Tuesday at Bowman Gray Stadium, Boulware, 40, was named the head football coach at Winston-Salem State University. He takes over for Connell Maynor, who departed at the end of this past season to be the head man at Hampton University. Now known as Kienus Boulware, the University of North Carolina alumnus said Tuesday the WSSU position is a “dream job” and he is thrilled to be given this opportunity.
“It means a lot to me and it is such a honor,” he said. “At least we know I am heading in the right direction. If you stay the course and keep your nose clean, there is a lot you can achieve.”
Boulware has served as an assistant coach the last 14 seasons at Livingstone, N.C. Central, Shaw and WSSU. A defensive coordinator for the Rams, Boulware's unit ranked No. 1 nationally this past season, allowing just 233 yards a game. He has helped the Rams win the last two CIAA championships. The last four years Winston-Salem State has finished 8-2, 13-1, 14-1 and 10-2.
With a strong background as an assistant coach, Boulware figured now was the time to take the next step. Three of the four coaches he has worked under have gone on to better paying jobs. Boulware played a role in helping rebuild programs at each of those stops.
When the current position became available, he had a decision to make. Either continue as an assistant coach, or take the leap into a head coach position.
“I figured if I've helped someone else rebuild and get them to a place where they would like to be ultimately, which is another job, I might as well do that for myself.”
Born and raised in Thomasville, Boulware has fond memories of his days as a Bulldog. He played the game of football with passion and had a tremendous amount of respect for coach Allen Brown. To follow in the footsteps of his mentor makes the former Shrine Bowl participant beam with pride.
“If I can get anywhere close to having the amount of head coaching success that Allen Brown had, then that means I will probably be in this thing for a long time,” Boulware said. “Coach Brown was a disciplinarian and was also a big fundamental guy. To do a part of what Allen Brown has done is a big thing.”
Thomasville's championship in '91 was the second for Brown. The team defeated West Brunswick 21-6 in the finals, with Boulware being named the game's Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
“That team was so goal-oriented and we had so much success together,” Boulware said. “We took pride every time we touched the field. What I remember most about that season is fighting every week to prove we had the top defense in the state. Instead of just playing against our opponent, we were playing against the statistics of trying to be the best that there was.”
Boulware excelled in wrestling as well, winning an individual and team title his junior year, then backing that up with another individual crown as a senior.
He went on to play football at UNC for head coach Mack Brown. His career was cut short after two seasons when it was discovered that he had an abnormality with his spinal cord. He continued to be a part of the program as a student assistant coach until getting his degree in 1997.
His next stop was Livingstone, where he began his 14-year stint as a successful assistant coach that led him to additional stops at N.C. Central, Shaw and his current home at Winston-Salem State.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.