Kent Farris begins a new job at Northeast Mississippi Community College during the 2015 fall semester as the athletic director in charge of nine intercollegiate athletic programs.
He took the reigns from former men’s basketball instructor David Robbins, who remains at Northeast as its dean of student services.
His new responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations of an athletic department that features eight varsity sports, an all-female cheerleading squad and that coordinates the annual Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-Star Football Classic each December at Tiger Stadium.
He is the eighth listed athletic director and is the latest in a legendary lineage of gentlemen to serve in this capacity, including National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Hall of Famers Bonner Arnold, Ricky Ford and W.B. “Bill” Ward.
Farris served as assistant athletic director during the 2014-15 academic year. Sports at Northeast thrived under his leadership with two athletes, Dimario Jackson of men’s basketball and golf’s Alex Tull, earning NJCAA All-American honors and five teams qualifying for the postseason.
The Corinth native has already cemented his legacy at Northeast as one of the greatest coaches in the history of its baseball program. Farris left the Tigers as their second winningest headman with 212 victories in nine campaigns at the helm and trails only Northeast Sports Hall of Fame inductee Ray Scott in that column.
The Tigers were placed among the country's elite units by the NJCAA on more than one instance under Farris. Northeast was most recently ranked No. 19 during the poll period from March 11-24, 2014.
His squads qualified for the MACJC playoffs six times since he joined the Tigers prior to the 2007 campaign. Farris brought postseason action back to the City of Hospitality when Northeast finished as the league runner-up in 2009 with a 33-14 mark and welcomed Jones County Junior College for a best-of-three series.
Farris guided the Tigers to their first MACJC North Division championship since 1992 four years later. Northeast edged rival Northwest Mississippi Community College for the title and later took its opening round playoff meeting with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
The Tigers continued to rewrite their record books in 2014 when they received the privilege of hosting the double elimination MACJC State Tournament for the initial time under its current format.
Around 1,250 fans packed the bleachers at Harold T. White Field for seven games over a three-day period. Farris' ballclub faced eventual state champion Jones County and East Central Community College before ending the campaign with a 27-20 mark.
A total of 59 athletes that starred under the watch of Farris committed to play at four-year universities at the NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA levels. He also instructed Northeast Sports Hall of Famer Chase Porch, who became the Tigers' lone NJCAA All-American in 2008.
Three men that started for Farris at Northeast reached the professional ranks. Phillip Chapman signed with the Minnesota Twins, Brandon Farley was drafted in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Amateur Draft by San Francisco and Porch inked with three separate organizations in the independent American Association.
He also made sure his student-athletes focused on their studies in the classroom. The Tigers were selected as a NJCAA All-Academic Team the previous two seasons while eight players over the last three years captured individual scholastic awards as well.
Farris replaced Scott when he accepted the position at Northeast from Columbus, where he spent the two seasons as head coach. The Falcons recorded an 18-11 mark in 2006 and hosted a first round playoff series for the inaugural time after claiming the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Division 2, Class 5A championship.
During his tenure with the Falcons, five players signed college scholarships and two athletes participated in the Crossroads Diamond Club All-Star Game in Jackson. Farris was named The Commercial Dispatch Coach of the Year in 2006.
Farris was the headman at Caledonia High School for three seasons and an assistant at New Hope High School from 1996-2002. He was part of two state championship teams with the Trojans and one of three Mississippi prep squads to end a season without a loss when his unit went 43-0 in 1996.
His most extensive head coaching experience on the prep stage came at Alcorn Central High School, where he was its commander from 1984-95. Farris compiled a 265-162-7 ledger while with the Golden Bears.
Farris’ Alcorn Central teams qualified for the playoffs on four occasions. He was tabbed as the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Coach of the Year in 1998 after guiding the Golden Bears to the MHSAA Class 3A state title.
He started his career as an assistant at North Alabama from 1983-84 and helped lead the Lions to the Gulf South Conference (GSC) title for the first time in its history in 1984. That club also concluded the NCAA Division II South Central Region as the runner-up and featured five men that inked pro deals.
Farris began working as an associate scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates Professional Baseball Club in 1998 and was an active coach in American Legion Baseball during his storied career in the Magnolia State.
He earned a Bachelor's degree from North Alabama in 1981 and a Master's degree in secondary education from the same institution two years later. He also completed teaching certification requirements in health from the Mississippi Department of Education and in driver’s education from Mississippi State University.
Professionally, Farris is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), the Crossroads Diamond Club, the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC), the Mississippi Association of Professional Educators and is a co-founder of the Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association for Better Baseball (NEMCABB).
Farris was chosen to coach in the Crossroads Diamond Club All-Star Game in 1989 and the NEMCABB All-Star Game at Corinth's Jesse Bynum Field twice in 1992 and 2002. He assisted the Mississippi team in the Junior Sunbelt Classic from 1979-99 and in 2001.
Farris, who was recently inducted into the NEMCABB Hall of Fame during its 25th anniversary ceremonies, has one son, Keaton, and is happily married to his wife, Joye.