Northeast Mississippi Community College
Sports Hall of Fame
Criteria for those eligible include former Northeast coaches and athletes that have been out of college athletics for at least five years. A maximum of five honorees may be inducted annually.
Nominations for induction into the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame will be accepted through May 1 of each year.
|Induction Year||Inductee||Years at Northeast||Sports/Occupation|
|Emma Braddock||1980-86, 1988-89||Head Men's and Women's Tennis Coach|
|Dontae' Jones||1993-94, 1994-95||Men's Basketball|
|Jim Lamb||1976-79||Head Women's Basketball Coach/Sports Supporter|
|Josie Lindgrin||2002-03, 2003-04||Softball|
|Anthony Anderson||1981-82, 1982-83||Men's Basketball|
|John O. Cunningham||Sports Supporter|
|Ronnie Key||1979-81, 1986-91||Football/Baseball/Baseball Coach|
|Maurice Stafford||1980-82, 2003-13||Men's Basketball/Assistant Women's Basketball Coach|
|Tamica Pierce Jones||1999-2000, 2000-01||Women's Basketball|
|Tim Kesler||1981-82, 1982-83||Men's Basketball|
|Gaylon Baird||1967-68, 1968-69||Men's Basketball|
|Nathan "Ned" Davis||1949-1950||Football/Men's Basketball|
|Brenda Mayes*||1981-82, 1982-83||Women's Basketball/Softball/Women's Basketball Coach|
|Harry T. Cosby||1976-77, 1977-78||Football|
|Ellis "Myrl" Crowe||1953-54, 1954-55||Men's Basketball/Baseball|
|Mike Lewis*||1969-70, 1970-71||Baseball/Men's Basketball Coach|
|Larry "Jerry" Reno||1970-71, 1971-72||Men's Basketball|
|Ray Scott||1992-2006||Baseball Coach|
|Freddie Copeland||1973-74, 1974-75||Men's Basketball|
|Audrey Covington*||1986-87, 1987-88||Women's Basketball|
|Brandi Vondenstein Dannelly||2001-02, 2002-03||Softball|
|Guy Gardner||1998-99, 1999-2000||Men's Basketball|
|Malcolm Kuykendall||Sports Supporter|
|Ricky Ford**||1981-2011||Men's Basketball/Women's Basketball Coach/Athletic Director/College President|
|Sherry Slayton Holland||1985-86, 1986-87||Women's Basketball|
|Vincent Del Negro||1958-59, 1959-60||Men's Basketball|
|David Carnell*||1972-2008||Baseball Coach/Football Coach/Softball Coach/Track & Field Coach/Athletic Director|
|Phyllis Stafford Dilworth||1985-86, 1986-87||Women's Basketball|
|Kunshinge Sorrell-Howard*||1984-85, 1985-86||Women's Basketball/Assistant Women's Basketball Coach|
|Jack Martin||1950-51, 1953-54||Men's Basketball|
|Gerald Caveness||1950-51, 1953-54||Men's Basketball|
|Harvey Childers*||1985-1992||Men's Basketball Coach|
|Clyde Jones||1950-51, 1951-52||Men's Basketball|
|Larry Parker||1976, 1977||Football|
|Evelyn Thompson*||1986-87, 1987-88||Women's Basketball|
|Bonner Arnold**||1948-1974||Men's Basketball Coach/Women's Basketball Coach/Athletic Director|
|Chuck "Doodle" Floyd||1952-52, 1953-54||Men's Basketball|
|Gene Garrett||1948-49, 1949-50||Men's Basketball|
|Ken Lindsey*||1950-51, 1951-52||Men's Basketball/Assistant Men's Basketball Coach|
|Kenneth "Cat" Robbins||1966-1968||Men's Basketball Coach/Women's Basketball Coach|
|Adrian "Odie" Smith**||1954-55, 1955-56||Men's Basketball|
|David "Nub" Strickland*||1950, 1953||Football|
|W.B. "Bill" Ward**||1948-49, 1968-1996||Football/Football Coach/Golf Coach/Athletic Director|
|Harold T. White*||College President|
|Earline "Woodsie" Woods||Sports Supporter|
|* Denotes induction into the MACJC Sports Hall of Fame|
|** Denotes induction into the MACJC Sports Hall of Fame and the NJCAA Hall of Fame|
Emma Braddock (Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach, 1980-1986; 1988-89)
Emma Braddock was hired by then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College in 1965 to serve alongside legendary coach Bonner Arnold as one of three physical education instructors for the institution.
She went on to serve Northeast for more than 25 years. Braddock saw the athletic department evolve from only men’s basketball and cheerleading to seven sports strong when she retired following the 1989-90 academic year.
Braddock was a member of the faculty at Northeast for well more than a decade before taking over the duties of tennis coach for both the men and women from fellow Northeast Sports Hall of Famer Ken Lindsey in 1980.
She was the first female head coach in school history and eventually became Northeast’s most successful tennis instructor with multiple players advancing to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament.
Northeast started to find its groove under Braddock in 1982 when both squads combined for a 34-17 record. The Lady Tigers went 14-11 while the Tigers boasted an impressive 20-6 mark.
All Northeast players qualified for the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament that season. The Tigers also had the top two seeds from the north half in the men’s singles bracket.
The Tigers’ Aaron Parsons and John Tate captured a doubles state championship after defeating Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the title matchup. Lisa Mills finished as the state runner-up in women’s singles as well.
Mills gained her revenge one year later as she teamed with Kathy Arnold to attain both the state and regional doubles crowns. They advanced with their victories to the NJCAA National Tournament, which was then played in Ocala, Fla.
Braddock’s women’s teams from 1984-85 may have been the two best squads of her entire tenure. They both travelled to the Sunshine State for the NJCAA National Tournament and won multiple championships along the way.
Arnold won her second consecutive state and regional doubles title with new partner Lori Owens in 1984. She also gained the singles championships at both competitions as the top seed in the entire field.
Melissa Tyre also earned a state title in her singles category that year. Lori Curry and Lisa Aldridge were dominant in 1985 with state and regional crowns in women’s doubles and runner-up results in singles play as well.
The men had several bright spots in that stretch too. Duane Grubbs was the second ranked singles athlete in the state in 1984 while Kevin Cooley and Ken Williams entered the 1985 MACJC State Tournament as the number two seed from the north half.
Braddock took a one-year hiatus from coaching in 1987 with Ricky Gillentine serving as headman in her absence. She took the reigns of both programs once again in 1988 and stayed in that role for the remainder of the decade.
The Ripley native lifted the Lady Tigers and Tigers back to their proper spot atop the Magnolia State with a third place showing during her return to the teams in 1988 to cap a consistent career on the courts.
Braddock was an avid athlete herself. She has competed in multiple major golf tournaments and even won the third flight at the Women’s Southern Golf Association championship at Southern Pines, N.C., in 1980.
Dontae’ Jones (Men’s Basketball, 1993-94; 1994-95)
Dontae’ Jones is often hailed as one of the best players to ever put on a black-and-gold uniform for the tradition-rich Northeast Mississippi Community College men’s basketball program.
Jones led the Tigers to 51 wins against just 14 losses during his tenure in the City of Hospitality from 1993-95. He also helped Northeast capture four major championships in his two seasons.
The Nashville, Tenn., native was part of perhaps the highest scoring team in school history during his inaugural campaign. The Tigers scored over 100 points in 18 separate games that season on the way to an outstanding 26-5 record.
Jones had several memorable outings during Northeast’s pre-Christmas slate. He had team-highs of 28 points against Calhoun (Ala.) Community College, 23 points versus Shoals (Ala.) Community College and 36 points during a victory over Mary Holmes College.
The Tigers, who were under the tutelage of Northeast Sports Hall of Fame coach Mike Lewis, eventually climbed to as high as No. 12 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) rankings prior to the start of the postseason.
Jones helped the Tigers gain hosting privileges for the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament. He tallied 35 points, which included six rim-rattling dunks, in a 115-88 win at Northwest Mississippi Community College that allowed Northeast to capture the division title.
He celebrated again one week later as the Tigers won their first MACJC state championship since 1988 in front of their fans inside Bonner Arnold Coliseum. Jones notched 18 points as one of five double-digit scores in the title tilt.
Jones was a MACJC All-State first-team selection in his first year at Northeast after averaging a double-double with 25.2 points and 11.2 rebounds. He was a 50-percent shooter from the field overall.
The 6-7 guard increased his productivity even more as a sophomore. He became the 11th player in program history to earn distinction as a NJCAA All-American after posting 28.7 points, 13.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Jones lifted the Tigers to 10 wins in their first 11 tries, including big wins over Columbia State (Tenn.) Community College 104-98, Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College 114-95 and Mary Holmes 128-102.
He had game-highs of 25 points and 14 rebounds in the Jackson State matchup. Jones also had standout performances in the second half the season with 34 points during a home triumph over Itawamba Community College and 28 points with five dunks in a victory versus East Mississippi Community College.
Jones and the Tigers claimed another MACJC North Division crown, which was the third straight in as many years with Lewis at the helm, before hitting their stride in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum.
Northeast cruised into the title matchup with a 91-66 decision over Meridian Community College and a 105-85 win versus rival Northwest in which Jones tallied 35 points.
The Tigers then defeated defending champion Bossier Parish (La.) Community College in a tight 95-89 ballgame to clinch the seventh berth to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament in program history. Jones led all scorers in the contest with another 35-point effort.
Jones cemented his legacy at Northeast with a sensational showing in Hutchinson, Kan. He recorded three double-doubles, including 24 points and 21 rebounds in the Tigers’ consolation bracket semifinal contest against Vincennes (Ind.) University, to earn a spot on the All-Tournament team.
He was showered with MACJC All-State first-team, NJCAA All-Region 23 and NJCAA All-Region 23 Tournament honors in addition to his NJCAA All-American and NJCAA Division I All-Tournament recognition following Northeast’s 25-9 campaign.
Jones amassed whopping totals of 1,648 points, 751 rebounds and 111 assists with the Tigers. He made 643 field goals for a 50-percent shooting percentage and was a 62.6 percent free throw shooter.
Jones extended his collegiate career by signing with Mississippi State University following his tenure on the Booneville campus. He was a catalyst for what was perhaps the best season in school history in 1995-96.
The Bulldogs captured their first-ever Southeastern Conference (SEC) Tournament championship with an 84-73 marquee win over the University of Kentucky, which was then the No. 1 ranked squad in the country.
Mississippi State, which was the top seed from the SEC West Division, also bested Auburn (Ala.) University and the University of Georgia to reach the title game inside the Superdome. Jones posted 21.3 points over those three victories to earn Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors for the 1996 SEC Tournament.
Jones continued his brilliance in the postseason by guiding the Bulldogs to their inaugural NCAA Final Four appearance. He scored 16 points, which was second most on the team, in Mississippi State’s semifinal loss to Syracuse (N.Y.) University in East Rutherford, N.J., at the Continental Airlines Arena.
He received NCAA Southeast Regional MVP honors after averaging 15 points in wins over Virginia Commonwealth University and Princeton (N.J.) University at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind., and the University of Connecticut and the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) at Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.
Jones contributed 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game during his lone season at Mississippi State. He was recently elected to the 2017 Allstate SEC Basketball Legends Class, which showcased former greats from all 14 SEC member institutions.
He decided to forego his senior campaign with the Bulldogs and was selected with the 21st overall pick in the first round of the 1996 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft by the New York Knicks.
Jones was traded to Boston’s storied franchise prior to the 1997-98 NBA season. He played one full year with the Celtics and set a career-high with 15 points in a victory over Golden State on February 27, 1998.
He concluded his professional career over the next decade by playing overseas in China, Greece, Italy, Korea and Turkey. Jones was the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) scoring champion in 2008 with 32.3 points per game for the Yunnan Bulls.
Jim Lamb (Head Women’s Basketball Coach, 1976-79; Sports Supporter)
Only a select few individuals can claim they have witnessed as many Northeast Mississippi Community College athletic events since the beginning of the institution in 1948 as Jim Lamb.
Lamb has become a synonymous figure inside the Northeast athletic department. He has sat behind the scorers’ table at Bonner Arnold Coliseum and in the pressbox of Tiger Stadium for the better part of 40 years as the official scorer and public address announcer for both the basketball and football programs.
He continues in his role as the public address announcer for the Tigers’ home football games and also serves as a member of the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame selection committee over a decade after his official retirement.
The Winona native was originally hired by fellow Northeast Sports Hall of Famer and former president of the college Harold T. White as a natural sciences instructor in 1966. Among the subjects he taught were botany, general biology, human anatomy and physiology and zoology.
Lamb maintained his teaching position in the department of mathematics and sciences throughout his 36-year tenure as a part of Northeast’s faculty. However, he took on several additional duties during his career.
He stepped onto the Bonner Arnold Coliseum court as a coach himself to lead the women’s basketball team for three seasons from 1976-79. Lamb was the Lady Tigers’ second headman since the program was resurrected in 1973 following a nearly two decade long hiatus.
Lamb had three athletes that secured All-State honors during his first season at the helm, including Jennifer Churchill, Belinda Shelton and Debbie Strickland. Shelton was the leading scorer for the Lady Tigers while Strickland was the team captain.
Shelton was again the top offensive player on Lamb’s 1977-78 squad while Kay Strickland landed in that spot one year later. His final two captains were Mary Lindsey and Wanda Skinner.
Lamb was an advisor for Northeast’s branch of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society from 1972 until he retired in 2002. He was responsible for making the Iota Zeta chapter one of the greatest in not just the Magnolia State, but in the entire country as well.
He received many awards during his work with the Iota Zeta chapter. Lamb was named to the Phi Theta Kappa Hall of Honors in 1992 and one year later was selected as an outstanding regional Phi Theta Kappa advisor.
Lamb was a member of the Mississippi/Louisiana Regional Phi Theta Kappa Advisors Council. He earned one of the organization’s highest honors in 2003 as the Alumnus of the Year for the Mississippi/Louisiana region.
He was tabbed as the acting dean of the college in 1972 and director of student activities in 1973. Lamb was Northeast’s representative for the 1993 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence in Teaching award.
Northeast also recognized Lamb as its annual Higher Education Appreciation Day, Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) honoree that same year. Lamb was the building coordinator for McCoy Hall, which is the mathematics and science facility, as well.
Lamb was a grand awards judge for the International Science and Engineering Fair from 1993-98. He also loaned his expertise to the Mississippi State Science and Engineering Fair as a best of fair judge from 1987-99 and to the regional science fair hosted on an annual basis at Northeast.
His personal education included an Associate’s degree from Holmes Community College, a Bachelor’s degree from Auburn (Ala.) University and a Master’s degree from Mississippi State University with post-graduate hours from the University of Mississippi.
Lamb and his wife Donna, who was also employed by Northeast in the campus bookstore, have been residents of Booneville for over 50 years since moving from Akin, S.C., where he worked for the state government with the soil conservation service.
Josie Lindgrin (Softball, 2003; 2004)
Josie Lindgrin secured her place as one of the most dominant pitchers in the tradition-rich history of the Northeast Mississippi Community College softball program with two outstanding seasons.
Lindgrin still holds a pair of school records that might never be broken. She compiled a sensational 0.92 earned run average (ERA) with 198 strikeouts during her phenomenal 2004 campaign.
She became the only Tiger ever to earn National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Player of the Year honors that season with 21 wins and 197.1 innings pitched, which are both second best for a single campaign in program history, to accompany her strikeout total and extremely low ERA.
Lindgrin was a consensus All-American following her record-setting sophomore year. She remains one of only seven Northeast players to receive All-American distinction from both the NJCAA and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) in the same season.
She lifted the Tigers to the 2004 Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) state championship game by tossing a no-hitter against East Central Community College. Lindgrin helped Northeast win its annual TigerFest Tournament earlier in the campaign.
The Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada native was an integral part of the best team in school history one year earlier in 2003. That team went 32-17 overall under the direction of Northeast Sports Hall of Fame coach David Carnell with a perfect 12-0 ledger inside the MACJC North Division.
Lindgrin put the exclamation mark on the Tigers’ first-ever undefeated division slate. She led Northeast to a 9-1 game two victory over Northwest Mississippi Community College in the last conference doubleheader of the regular season.
The Tigers finished as the MACJC state runner-up before fighting their way through the losers bracket to capture the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament championship one week later on the campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Lindgrin played a big role in clinching that title. She threw a one-hit shutout over Itawamba Community College in an elimination contest before forcing the if-necessary championship game with a 4-2 triumph versus Hinds Community College.
Another win over the Eagles in Perkinston allowed the Tigers to make what is still their only appearance at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, which was held that year at Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Northeast put up a solid showing in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, but lost two straight heartbreaking one-run matchups to Black Hawk (Ill.) College and top-ranked Parkland (Ill.) College.
Lindgrin posted 120 innings of work as a freshman and struck out 157, which is fourth on the all-time list. She amassed a stellar 1.35 ERA with only 18 earned runs given up all season.
She was well decorated after her inaugural campaign in the City of Hospitality. Lindgrin was named to the NFCA All-South Region and the NJCAA All-Region 23 second-teams for her brilliance in the circle.
Lindgrin completed her time at Northeast with a 36-14 individual pitching record and a sparkling 1.08 ERA. She notched 355 strikeouts and only 59 walks over 314 total innings for the Tigers.
Northeast racked up 70 wins with Lindgrin on its roster, which is the most over a two-year period in program history. The Tigers also rose to as high as No. 7 in the NJCAA’s rankings during her tenure.
She wrapped up her career on the diamond at Southern Arkansas University from 2005-06. Lindgrin still places sixth all-time for the Muleriders with only 1.34 walks allowed per seven inning game during her junior campaign.
Southern Arkansas combined for 56 wins over the two years that Lindgrin was part of its pitching staff with 30 of those victories coming against fellow Gulf South Conference (GSC) adversaries.
The Muleriders were eliminated in the GSC Tournament after finishing in a tie for second in the GSC West Division behind Delta State University in 2005 and fourth when Lindgrin was a senior.
Anthony Anderson (Men's Basketball, 1981-82, 1982-83)
Anthony Anderson is still one of the top roundball athletes to ever suit up for the tradition-rich men's basketball program at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Anderson had several double-digit performances during his freshman campaign, including 20 points in a huge 107-69 win over Meridian Community College and 16 points in a triumph at rival Itawamba Community College.
The East Union High School graduate guided the Tigers to a 21-4 regular season mark during the 1981-82 campaign. That included two wins at the Tip Off Tournament hosted by Jefferson State (Ala.) Community College.
Anderson scored a team-high 14 points to lift Northeast to the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division Tournament crown in a 42-39 triumph over Northwest Mississippi Community College inside legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
He followed that with 13 points three nights later in a tight 56-55 MACJC State Tournament semifinal victory over Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College on the campus of Utica Junior College, which is now part of the Hinds Community College system.
Anderson and the Tigers delivered once again the following evening against the host Bulldogs. He tallied 16 points to help Northeast secure its third state championship in program history with an 86-78 decision at Utica.
He was one of four sophomores that came back for the 1982-83 campaign. That team started on a slightly rocky note with a 5-5 record near the Christmas break, but the Tigers pulled together and compiled another 20-win season.
Northeast wrapped up Anderson's final year in the City of Hospitality with a 21-12 mark and as the MACJC North Division runner-up. The Tigers eventually hosted the inaugural National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Tournament.
Anderson was simply phenomenal in the regional opener against Delgado (La.) Community College. He amassed a game-best 45 points and was an incredible 20 of 22 from the free throw line for a Northeast squad that posted 112 total points.
But Mississippi Gulf Coast eliminated the Tigers in their following contest in a tight 88-80 contest. Anderson concluded his career with 26 points, which was more than any other player in the matchup.
Anderson finished as the leading scorer in NJCAA Region 23 and was recognized as the Babe McCarthy Junior College Player of the Year, which was awarded to the top athlete at the two-year level in the Magnolia State.
He also became the eighth NJCAA All-American in program history after ranking among the 10 best rebounders in the region. Anderson was voted by his peers and head coach Richard Mathis as Northeast's Most Valuable Player (MVP) as well.
The Blue Springs native completed his Associate's degree in business administration from Northeast and later wrapped up his education at Middle Tennessee State University beginning in the fall of 1983.
He has devoted his professional life to the field of criminal justice. Anderson worked with the Union County Sherriff's Office for over a decade and was the Chief of Police in Verona for three years.
Anderson and his wife Connie have three children, Anna, Ebony and William, and are members of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church. He is presently employed by the Northeast Campus Police Department.
John O. Cunningham (Sports Supporter)
John O. Cunningham joins an elite group of supporters that have been elected to the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame. He joins Malcolm Kuykendall and Earline "Woodsie" Woods with this distinction
Cunningham was an established businessman that was known as a tireless advocate for the Lady Tigers and Tigers. He remains as one of Northeast's biggest backers even in retirement.
The Baldwyn native owned Cunningham's Food Mart in his hometown for several years and was highly successful in that venture. His prosperity has seemingly gone hand-in-hand with the affluence of Northeast's nine intercollegiate athletic programs.
He became a member of the Northeast Board of Trustees in 1995 and still serves in that capacity. Cunningham currently holds the position of secretary for the 15-member board.
Cunningham also fulfills duties as part of the Northeast Development Foundation Board of Directors. He is one of four representatives from Prentiss County on this 20-person committee.
He and others on the board helped assemble an athletic giving program through the Northeast Development Foundation that has generated over $1 million for the institution over the past 16 years.
Cunningham is a familiar sight at Northeast sporting events. He can usually be found at courtside inside Bonner Arnold Coliseum or in a folding chair during the spring at either baseball or softball doubleheaders chatting about his beloved Tigers.
Ronnie Key (Football, 1979, 1980, Baseball 1980, 1981, Baseball Coach 1986-1991)
Ronnie Key immediately became a popular student-athlete upon his enrollment in 1979. He was selected as Mr. Northeast Mississippi Junior College during his sophomore year while playing both baseball and football.
Key was a standout defensive end for the Tigers in one of the best two-year periods in program history. Northeast compiled 15 victories during his tenure on the gridiron.
The Tigers captured six wins during Key's freshman season, which was tied for the most by any Northeast team in the previous 10 campaigns, and finished as runner-up in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division.
Among the victories that year were three consecutive matchups with Coahoma Community College, Hinds Community College and Holmes Community College. Northeast eventually lost at Jones County Junior College in its second-ever state playoff contest.
Key and the Tigers bounced back with perhaps the best season in school history. Northeast captured nine victories in 1980, which is still the second most in a single year ever, and its inaugural MACJC North Division championship.
The Corinth native helped the Tigers compile a perfect 6-0 mark in league play. They clinched the MACJC North Division title with a 26-0 blanking of Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Northeast rose to as high as No. 2 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll and was the top ranked team in the entire country at one point according to JC Gridwire. Those remain as the highest rankings ever for the Tigers.
Key's final outing on the gridiron was during a 19-3 setback to Jones County in the first postseason game hosted by Northeast inside the friendly confines of Tiger Stadium.
He made an even deeper impact on the baseball program at Northeast. Key was a MACJC All-State selection and was voted as the Tigers' Most Valuable Player (MVP) during each of his two campaigns.
NJCAA Hall of Famer W.B. "Bill" Ward recognized Key with the Tiger Award for football following his freshman year while head coach William Southward gave him the same honor twice for his leadership and efforts on the diamond.
Key returned to the Booneville campus in 1984 and was named the ninth head baseball coach at Northeast since the program was reinstated in 1961. His squads were known to be consistently competitive on a yearly basis.
The Corinth High School alumnus set a new program record with 24 victories in 1989 on the way to third place in the MACJC North Division. That mark stood for 11 years when the Tigers posted 26 triumphs in 2000.
He led the Tigers to five consecutive winning seasons and finished his tenure with 113 victories, which places him as the third winningest headman in program history. His Northeast teams missed the postseason by one game for three straight years from 1989-91.
Key was selected to coach the Athletes in Action international tour while with the Tigers in both 1985 and 1989. It was a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ International that was formed to share life-changing faith with sports fans across the world.
His team trained in Reno, Nev., before visiting sites in northern California and Central America. Key's crew also visited local hospitals and churches as a means of serving others during their summer tours.
He left his alma mater to take the same position at Montreat-Anderson (N.C.) College in 1991. Key quickly retreated to the Magnolia State in 1991 after accepting an opening at Lamar School in Meridian.
Key remained at Lamar for the next two decades and served in various roles such as head baseball and golf coach, assistant football instructor, athletic director and guidance counselor.
He is presently in his sixth season as the golf coach at Meridian Community College. Key was the 2014 MACJC and Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) Coach of the Year after guiding the Eagles to a state title on the links.
Key's teams have captured 15 tournament crowns over the last four campaigns. Each of those squads were selected as Farmer's Insurance All-Academic Teams as well.
He and his wife Leigh Ann have two children, Casey and Easton. Key is a board member for district five of Mississippi's Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and attends worship at Meridian's Northcrest Baptist Church.
Maurice Stafford (Men's Basketball 1980-81, 1981-82, Assistant Men's and Women's Basketball Coach 2003-13)
Maurice Stafford started what turned into a blossoming career in the sport of basketball after signing with then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College as one of the highest touted prep athletes in the Magnolia State.
Stafford immediately showed amazing potential during his inaugural matchup in a black-and-gold uniform on November 10, 1980 at home against Dyersburg State (Tenn.) Community College. He nearly accounted for a double-double with 16 points and eight rebounds during a decisive 103-84 victory by the Tigers.
The Biggersville High School graduate was frequently the leading scorer for Northeast during his freshman campaign in jersey No. 44 while under the watch of head coach Noel Akins.
His first such instance as top scorer for the Tigers was in a tight 92-89 triumph over Northwest Alabama Community College, which is now Northwest-Shoals Community College. Stafford was one of five Tigers to reach double figures that night with 26 points.
Stafford helped Northeast win its initial five contests that year with 25 points at Dyersburg State and 30 points during his first rivalry matchup with Itawamba Community College on December 2, 1980.
He and his teammates went on to win the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division Tournament crown with a 61-50 triumph versus Northwest Mississippi Community College. Stafford had 13 points in the Tigers' title victory over the Rangers.
Northeast eventually lost in the state championship contest to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 7 Tournament that was held on the campus of Paducah (Ky.) Community College, which is currently known as West Kentucky Community and Technical College.
Stafford, who was one of four returning sophomores, and the Tigers gained their revenge one season later by capturing the 1982 MACJC State Tournament title under the direction of first-year headman Richard Mathis.
Northeast edged past Mississippi Gulf Coast in the semifinals by a 56-55 margin thanks in part to 27 points from Stafford. The Tigers then bested host Utica Junior College 86-78 with Stafford notching 15 points before hoisting the championship trophy.
Stafford was selected to the MACJC All-State team and became the seventh NJCAA All-American in program history after leading both the state and region with approximately 23 points per game.
The Rienzi native was also the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 1981 Tip Off Tournament in Birmingham, Ala., where Northeast won the crown over Lurleen B. Wallace (Ala.) Community College.
He signed with the University of North Alabama after his tenure with the Tigers and found even more success on the hardwood. He led the Lions in scoring and field goal percentage both as a junior and senior.
Stafford was a two-time All-Gulf South Conference (GSC) selection and was the 1984 GSC Player of the Year. That same season he led North Alabama to a 27-7 overall mark, a GSC and NCAA South Regional championship plus a berth to the NCAA Division II Final Four.
He shot 75 percent from the floor during his senior campaign, which at the time was a NCAA Division II record. That incredible feat was broken three years later, but still remains fourth all-time at that level.
Stafford's career stat line for the Lions included 922 points, 382 rebounds, 95 assists, 70 steals and 32 blocks. He later returned to Florence, Ala., as an assistant coach for North Alabama's women's program.
His playing career might have concluded with the Lions, but his passion for roundball continued through his time as a coach. His first position came at the University of Tennessee at Martin from 1989-95.
Stafford was heavily involved in recruiting, monitoring the academic status of players, game preparation and the development of post players while at UT Martin, North Alabama and the University of Memphis (Tenn.).
Some of the standout athletes he instructed were Tamika Whitmore, who went on to play for the Indiana Fever of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) after starring at Memphis, and North Alabama's inaugural first-team All-American in Serita Gaulding.
Stafford returned to Booneville to conclude his coaching tenure at Northeast. He was the first ever assistant for the women's basketball program and assisted the men as well over a decade starting in 2003.
He assisted the Lady Tigers in capturing a pair of state championships plus the 2006 NJCAA Region 23 title. Stafford tutored NJCAA All-Americans Jessica Hooker and Krystal Robinson during that special season that saw Northeast reach the NJCAA Division I National Tournament for the third time ever.
Stafford, who is also a member of North Alabama's Hall of Fame, is married to the former Karyn Miller of Jumpertown. They have a daughter, Sascha, and one grandson, D'Kylin.
Phillip Chapman (Baseball, 2008, 2009)
Phillip Chapman was a pivotal part of the resurgence that Northeast Mississippi Community College has experienced on the diamond since the turn of the century.
Chapman guided the Tigers to 65 victories during his tenure with the Tigers, which is the most over a two-year period in school history. Northeast also set a program record for wins in a single season with 33 during his sophomore campaign.
The Clinton native helped the Tigers finish as the runner-up in the MACJC North Division for two consecutive years while under the tutelage of Farris. Northeast parlayed that success into a pair of playoff berths as well.
Chapman was selected to the MACJC All-State team after a stellar freshman campaign. He compiled a .370 batting average with seven home runs, 23 RBIs and a .984 fielding percentage.
He increased his productivity offensively one year later. Chapman led the Tigers to an appearance at the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament with team-highs of nine homers, 39 RBIs and a .640 slugging percentage.
Chapman was tabbed as a NJCAA Preseason All-American prior to his final campaign on the Booneville campus. He repeated as a MACJC All-State selection that year as well.
The 5'11", 190 pounder signed a scholarship with the University of Memphis (Tenn.) and immediately worked his way into the starting lineup as the catcher. He paced the Tigers with 121 consecutive innings behind the plate against Conference USA competition.
He had perhaps his best outing while with Memphis on April 3, 2010 at Marshall (W.Va.) University. Chapman went 4 for 5 with a career-high five runs scored in a 21-13 victory over the Thundering Herd.
Chapman connected for his initial long ball with the Tigers one week later during a series against East Carolina (N.C.) University. He added a nine-game hitting streak that spanned two months as well.
He was also the everyday backstop for the Tigers as a senior and gunned 31 percent of runners that attempted to steal a base. Chapman batted .321 with 42 RBIs and a team-high 21 doubles.
Chapman lifted Memphis to a 30-27 overall record that season and to a bid in the Conference USA Tournament at Pearl's Trustmark Park. The Tigers captured a win over the University of Alabama at Birmingham, but lost to Rice (Texas) University and the University of Central Florida in pool play at the home of the Southern League's Mississippi Braves.
He was selected by Minnesota in the 35th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft. Chapman reported to Fort Myers, Fla., in June to play for the Gulf Coast League Twins.
Chapman participated in 33 games during his first and only professional season and amassed solid numbers. He had a .392 on-base percentage and .442 slugging percentage with 32 total hits.
He had twelve doubles and one triple in the short campaign that spans a period of two-and-a-half months. Chapman had 21 RBIs, 18 runs, four sacrifice flies and was hit by a pitch on six occasions.
The Clinton High School graduate accumulated 137 putouts and 10 assists during his time behind the dish and in left field for the Twins. Chapman caught 10 of 19 players that tried to swipe a bag as well.
Chapman also excelled in the classroom at both Northeast and Memphis. He was inducted into the Iota Zeta chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and was named to the Capital One Academic All-District IV team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Donnie Clayton (Football, 1968, 1969)
Donnie Clayton was one of the first signees for the then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College football team following its resurrection from an over decade-long hiatus.
Clayton was among five standouts from Ripley High School that inked with the Tigers and their new headman W.B. "Bill" Ward. They ensured that the program was not done away with again by winning 11 games over a two-year period.
Northeast was victorious in its initial contest back from the layoff with a 33-20 decision over Southwest Mississippi Community College. The Tigers followed that with a 28-17 triumph versus Hinds Community College one week later.
Northeast eventually picked up wins against rivals Itawamba Community College and Northwest Mississippi Community College to conclude Clayton's freshman season with a 4-5 overall record.
The Tigers improved drastically during the following campaign and went 7-2 with Clayton on the field. That was the second most wins in a single season at the time and still remains third on the all-time list.
Northeast ended that season on a four-game winning streak with positive outcomes versus Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Itawamba and Northwest.
Clayton was part of two of the most prolific offenses in school history. He was the top receiver on a pair of squads that equally averaged 26.7 points per game, which is tied for second in school history.
The 48 points that Clayton and his teammates scored in 1968 against Itawamba and 1969 versus East Central Community College remains the sixth highest total in one game ever for Northeast.
The 240 total points that each of Clayton's squads compiled is knotted for sixth most in one season. It was also the second highest amount over a pair of seasons ever for the Tigers.
Clayton was chosen as a MACJC All-State selection twice during his tenure at Northeast. He topped the Tigers in receiving yards from the tight end position as a sophomore.
He was honored as Northeast's second NJCAA All-American on the gridiron following the conclusion of his last campaign in the City of Hospitality. His quarterback Johnny Buskirk also garnered the same countrywide honor that year.
Robert Henry (Football, 1972, 1973)
Robert Henry may be known predominantly as an outstanding coach, but his pigskin career truly began to blossom as an athlete at then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College.
Henry was a talented defensive standout for the Tigers that Ward, who is a NJCAA Hall of Famer, used at multiple positions. He was named the most valuable player for his unit after seeing action at linebacker and on the line.
Northeast captured victories over East Mississippi Community College and Southwest Mississippi Community College during Henry's inaugural campaign on the Booneville campus.
The Tigers improved the following year and captured four wins with Henry on the field. Northeast defeated Southwest for the second straight season and also bested East Central Community College, Hinds Community College and Holmes Community College.
The three wins against opponents from the MACJC South Division is tied for the second most in a single season in program history. The Tigers also accomplished the same feat during the 1974, 1980 and 1989 campaigns.
Henry was the only freshman to earn a spot on the MACJC All-State team. He received an invitation to participate in the annual MACJC All-Star Game following his sophomore year as well.
The Corinth native switched sides of the football after signing with the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and lettered at offensive guard in 1975. He graduated two years later and began a 35-year coaching career that fall at Laurel's R.H. Watkins High School.
Henry moved into the collegiate ranks in 1980 at the University of Southern Mississippi. His defense topped the nation in scoring one season after his arrival in Hattiesburg.
His third stop was at powerhouse Southern Methodist (Texas) University. Henry was the defensive line instructor at a school that compiled a 43-14-1 overall record during his five-year stay with appearances in the Aloha Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Sun Bowl.
Henry accepted the same post at the University of Tennessee prior to the 1987 campaign. He returned to the Magnolia State after only one season with the Volunteers to serve as the defensive coordinator at Ole Miss.
He helped the Rebels compile 27 triumphs and back-to-back bowl appearances with a victory over the United States Air Force Academy (Colo.) in the 1989 Liberty Bowl and a loss to the University of Michigan at the 1991 Gator Bowl. Henry was nominated for Southeastern Conference (SEC) assistant coach of the year while at Ole Miss in 1988.
Henry took a short hiatus from coaching, but returned to the gridiron at Northwestern State (La.) University in 1994. He has completed stints at fellow NCAA Division I institutions Baylor (Texas) University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the University of Wyoming as well.
The Corinth High School alumnus most recently found success at the NCAA Division II level. He drastically improved Henderson State (Ark.) University's defense over his five-year tenure.
The Reddies went from conceding 403.5 yards per game to giving up only 276.9 yards with Henry on the sidelines. Henderson State ranked 10th nationally during the 2007 season by only allowing opposing offenses to compile 267.4 yards.
Henry was hired in January 2010 at the University of West Alabama. He developed the Tigers' defense into a top-five unit overall nationally and the best at pass efficiency.
He instructed cornerback Malcolm Butler as the defensive coordinator for West Alabama. Butler secured New England's victory over Seattle in the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl XLIX with an interception late in the contest.
Tamica Pierce Jones (Women's Basketball, 1999-2000, 2000-01)
Tamica Pierce Jones was the latest in a long line of successful student-athletes that took the floor for Northeast Mississippi Community College and its NJCAA Hall of Fame instructor Ricky Ford.
Jones entered into the lineup as a freshman and instantly led her squad to prominence by compiling a solid 19-7 overall record and winning the tenth MACJC North Division championship in program history.
The Decatur, Ga., native was the lone returning starter for the Lady Tigers one year later. She stepped up her production as part of a predominantly youthful team and averaged astounding numbers of 24.8 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
She was recognized for her outstanding efforts by earning NJCAA All-American honors. Jones became the seventh Northeast standout to receive this prestigious countrywide accolade.
Jones was also tabbed as a MACJC All-State performer after leading the Lady Tigers to their second straight division title and 19th consecutive appearance at the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.
She recorded another double-double in her final game at Northeast with 17 points and 14 boards in a loss to Copiah-Lincoln Community College at Mississippi College's A.E. Wood Coliseum. Jones concluded the campaign as the top scorer in the Magnolia State.
The 5-10 forward represented Northeast at the 24th annual MACJC All-Star Game on the grounds of East Central Community College. She scored a team-high 17 points as the North lost a 91-88 heartbreaker to the South on April 6, 2001.
Jones continued to excel on the court after signing with Florida Atlantic University. She barely missed becoming the eighth Lady Owl to score 500 points in a single year after totaling 497 as a junior.
She was named to the 2002 All-Atlantic Sun Conference first-team after guiding Florida Atlantic with 16 points per outing. Jones finished third among all athletes in the league in scoring and ninth in rebounds with an average of 6.9.
Jones was also incredibly accurate from the free throw line. She placed sixth in the Atlantic Sun with a 76.7 percent ledger from the charity stripe and was specifically 168 of 219 on those free shot attempts.
She scored in double figures during 25 contests in her initial campaign on the Boca Raton, Fla., campus. Jones tallied a career-high 28 points on January 9, 2002 against the University of Central Florida.
Jones accumulated six double-doubles for the Lady Owls and had a season-best 13 rebounds on January 14, 2002 versus Mercer (Ga.) University. She was a perfect 10 of 10 on free throws twice that year in games against Belmont (Tenn.) University and Jacksonville (Fla.) University.
She helped Florida Atlantic make a run to the Atlantic Sun Tournament championship matchup versus Georgia State University. The Lady Owls defeated Campbell (N.C.) University and Mercer on back-to-back nights to qualify for the title tilt.
Jones currently sits at 11th on the list of top scorers in program history with 865 total points in just two seasons with the Lady Owls. She has the third highest scoring average for Florida Atlantic with 14.6 points each matchup.
She still holds the school records for the most free throws made in one season with 168 and most shots attempted at the charity stripe at 219 during the 2001-02 campaign.
Tim Kesler (Men's Basketball, 1981-82, 1982-83)
Tim Kesler guided the already tradition-rich hoops squad at then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College to more prosperity with numerous outstanding performances.
The Tigers compiled a regular season overall record of 21-4 during Kesler's inaugural season in the City of Hospitality. That included a solid mark of 11-3 against MACJC North Division competition.
Northeast captured two-game sweeps that year over conference opponents Coahoma Community College, Itawamba Community College, Meridian Community College and Mississippi Delta Community College.
Kesler helped the Tigers capture the Jefferson State (Ala.) Tip Off Tournament championship during November 1981. Northeast defeated both Alexander City State (Ala.) Junior College, which is now known as Central Alabama Community College, and Lurleen B. Wallace (Ala.) Junior College to capture the title.
He pieced together several double-digit outings following the lengthy holiday break. Kesler tallied 18 points in a victory against East Mississippi Community College on January 28, 1982 and notched 17 points two days later during a 99-66 decision versus Mississippi Delta.
The Wheeler native helped the Tigers compile an undefeated month of February. Northeast claimed the MACJC North Division Tournament title at its home venue against rival Northwest Mississippi Community College in a contest that saw Kesler contribute 10 points during a close 42-39 contest.
The Tigers extended their hot streak by capturing the MACJC State Tournament crown. Northeast bested Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the semifinal round to setup a showdown with Utica Junior College for the championship.
Kesler and his team did not hold a lead against the Bulldogs until 10 minutes remained in the game. The Tigers were able to hold onto their advantage for an 86-78 win versus Utica.
It was the third state championship trophy in program history. Kesler was one of five players to reach double figures for Northeast in the title tilt with 18 points.
Kesler was one of four returning athletes during the following campaign and once again started at point guard. He lifted the Tigers to another 20-win season with appearances at the MACJC State Tournament and NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.
Northeast started slowly with a 5-5 mark at one point. But the Tigers had two straight victories over East Central Community College and East Mississippi prior to the Christmas break to end the semester on a positive note.
Kesler's crew went on to host the regional competition at legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum. He scored 11 points in the opening round to direct the Tigers to a riveting 112-109 triumph over Delgado (La.) Community College.
He concluded his standout career at Northeast in an 88-80 loss to Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Tigers finished as the runner-up in the MACJC North Division as well during Kesler's final campaign.
Kesler earned the Best Defense Award during his freshman year under the watch of coach Richard Mathis. He was selected to participate in the 1983 MACJC All-Star Game as well.
Gaylon Baird (Men’s Basketball, 1967-68, 1968-69)
Gaylon Baird used his tall and athletic body frame to outwork his opposition and secure immediate at then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College.
The 6-6 center thrived under the direction of legendary coach and Northeast Sports Hall of Fame member Kenneth Lindsey as a freshman and quickly earned a permanent spot in the starting lineup.
Baird led the Tigers to a 19-7 record during the 1967-68 campaign, which included victories over both the Mississippi State University and University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) freshmen squads.
Northeast scored 80 or more points in 18 contests that year and recorded a 16-2 mark in those matchups. The Tigers crossed the century line on four occasions as well in a pair of triumphs versus Northwest Alabama Junior College and wins against Itawamba Junior College and Copiah-Lincoln Junior College.
The West Union High School graduate led Northeast to victories in nine of its final 10 regular season outings. Baird and the Tigers used that momentum to capture the second state championship in program history.
Baird was tabbed as the sixth NJCAA All-American from Northeast after totaling an incredible 726 points during his inaugural campaign in the City of Hospitality. He averaged a double-double with 28 points and 13.1 rebounds per game.
He was named to both the Mississippi Junior College Conference All-State and NJCAA All-Region 7 teams for a second straight year in 1968-69. Baird tallied 25 points and 13 rebounds each contest as a sophomore.
Baird also earned the prestigious Tiger Award, which is given to a student-athlete that represents Northeast with a positive attitude on-and-off the field or court and is actively involved in school functions and organizations.
The Myrtle native signed a scholarship with Ole Miss and joined its basketball squad for the 1969-70 season. The Rebels compiled a 21-30 record with headman Cob Jarvis at the helm during Baird’s pair of campaigns in Oxford.
Ole Miss notched its highest scoring average in program history at 90.8 points and its second best free throw percentage ever at 75.2 during Baird’s senior year.
Baird became a notable coach once his time with the Rebels was complete. He was a two-time Chickasaw Conference Coach of the Year while at Horn Lake High School from 1974-79.
Nathan “Ned” Davis (Football, 1949, 1950; Men’s Basketball 1949-50)
The West Memphis, Ark., product was selected as the first team captain for the Tigers as a sophomore during the 1950 campaign. Northeast won its second straight Mississippi Valley Conference championship that year with Davis as its on-field leader.
Davis and the Tigers tied a school record with three shutouts versus Senatobia Junior College (34-0), Martin (Tenn.) College (37-0) and Fulton Junior College (41-0) in 1949.
Only two other Northeast squads have posted a trio of shutouts in one season, including Horace McCool’s 1956 group that posted a program-best 10 victories.
The 6-2, 178-pound defensive end starred alongside future Tiger head coach and NJCAA Hall of Famer W.B. “Bill” Ward during Northeast’s inaugural campaign. The Tigers went 5-5 under the tutelage of Woody Johnson during the regular season to claim the league crown.
Northeast accepted an invitation to participate in a playoff game against Union (Tenn.) University in Corinth following its final scheduled contest. The Tigers battled the Bulldogs to a 20-20 tie in their first-ever postseason appearance.
Doug Hamley took the reigns of the team in 1950 and led Northeast to a 6-2-2 record. Davis guided the Tigers to a 2-1-2 mark in their final five contests with nice wins over Pearl River Junior College and Sunflower Junior College.
Davis was also a member of the 1949-50 men’s basketball squad that won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 7 championship in Lake Charles, La., and finished as the runner-up to City College of Los Angeles (Calif.) in the national championship tilt.
He was named Mr. Northeast Mississippi Junior College for the 1951 graduating class and later served our country in the United States Army.
Jerry Long (Baseball, 1977)
Jerry Long continued a stellar baseball career when he arrived on the campus of then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College after transferring from Delta State University.
Long led coach William Southward’s club in numerous statistical categories during his sophomore campaign of 1977. He paced the Tigers with eight home runs, 35 RBIs, 40 hits and a solid .500 batting average.
He was voted by his teammates as Northeast’s Most Valuable Player and also received Mississippi Junior College Conference All-State status for his efforts with the Tigers.
Long, who won back-to-back state championships at Iuka High School as well from 1973-74, signed a scholarship with the University of North Alabama following his lone season with the Tigers. He became a two-year starter at shortstop and in the outfield for the Lions and coach Mike Galloway.
He compiled a .302 batting average with 10 home runs, 10 stolen bases and 25 RBIs as a senior at North Alabama. His long ball total was the second best in the rugged Gulf South Conference.
Long became the first athlete in program history to be named the GSC Player of the Week on April 19, 1980 when he helped the Lions defeat top ranked Birmingham Southern (Ala.) College with a pair of home runs.
He completed tryout sessions with the Cincinnati Reds and Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB) before returning to his hometown to serve as the baseball coach at Iuka High School.
Long won over 200 ballgames and played for a state championship three times within a period of seven years. He was selected as the statewide Coach of the Year by The Clarion-Ledger after directing the 1989 edition of the Chieftains to the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 2A title.
He became the head baseball and slowpitch softball coach at Tishomingo County High School after consolidation in 1991. Long’s squads have played for multiple MHSAA Class 4A North Half crowns during his tenure with the Braves.
Long is one of only a handful of coaches in the Magnolia State to win over 1,000 games during his 30-year career. He reached the milestone on September 22, 2011 with an extra inning victory over Amory High School on the slowpitch softball diamond.
Over 40 of his baseball players have received collegiate scholarships, including former Northeast standouts Blake Holley, Ricky Lambert, Wes Dotson and Seth Kennedy.
Long was a 2006 inductee into the Crossroads Diamond Club Hall of Fame and a 2013 honoree for the Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association for Better Baseball (NEMCABB) Hall of Fame.
Brenda Mayes (Women’s Basketball, 1981-82; 1982-83; Softball 1982, 1983)
Brenda Mayes started the process of transforming the Northeast Mississippi Community College women’s basketball program into a national powerhouse.
She was part of Northeast Sports Hall of Fame member Ricky Ford’s first recruiting class as commander in chief of the Lady Tigers in 1981. Northeast produced a 14-11 record and qualified for the Mississippi Junior College Conference North Half Tournament in her initial season on the Booneville campus.
The Lady Tigers improved tremendously during the 1982-83 campaign with Mayes in the post. Northeast compiled a 26-8 overall record and finished just short of claiming a state and regional championship.
She was selected to the MJCC All-State team for her efforts as the leading scorer and rebounder for a Lady Tiger squad that averaged 74.2 points and 40.8 boards per contest, respectively.
The Biggersville High School alumnae averaged a double-double that year with 21 points and 10.5 rebounds each outing. Mayes totaled an outstanding 697 points for the entire season.
Mayes signed a scholarship with the University of North Alabama following her excellent pair of seasons at Northeast. She flourished with the Lady Lions as well and connected on over 50 percent of her shot attempts for 919 career points.
The Corinth native led North Alabama to its initial trip to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament in 1984. One year later, Mayes and the Lady Lions claimed their inaugural Gulf South Conference (GSC) regular season and tournament titles and returned to the NCAA Tournament.
Mayes and teammate LaConger Cohran were the first ladies to be recognized as All-GSC for two straight campaigns. She was also named to the 1985 NCAA South Region All-Tournament team and the Kodak NCAA Division II All-American lineup.
She was a founding member of the Northeast softball program as well and starred for two seasons under the watch of coach Millard Lothenore. The Tigers, who played at the slowpitch level in the 1980s, compiled an 11-13 record in their opening campaign with victories over North Alabama and Blue Mountain College.
Northeast’s 1983 edition that featured Mayes qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament in Cullman, Ala., with a 24-7 overall mark.
Mayes was the recipient of the Tiger Award, which is given to a student-athlete that represents Northeast with a positive attitude on-and-off the field or court and is actively involved in school functions and organizations, for both softball and women’s basketball.
She has enjoyed a large amount of success as a coach at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School since graduating from North Alabama. Mayes won four Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) volleyball state crowns and qualified for the AHSAA Elite Eight in girls basketball.
Mayes has been tabbed as Coach of the Year in both sports that she currently instructs by The Times Daily and in volleyball only by The Birmingham News, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association.
She is also a member of the North Alabama Athletic Hall of Fame and the Colbert County (Ala.) Sports Hall of Fame.
Chase Porch (Baseball, 2008)
Chase Porch’s name currently stands alone in the baseball history book at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Porch is the lone Tiger to be selected as a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American. He accomplished the feat as a sophomore during the 2008 campaign at Northeast.
The Blue Springs native wielded a powerful stick and notched a team-high .431 batting average with 72 hits in 167 at bats. Porch also accounted for 10 home runs, 10 doubles, five triples and 48 RBIs.
Porch guided the Tigers and coach Kent Farris to appearances in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament and the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament that year after wrapping up the regular season with a 32-17 record.
Northeast also climbed its way into the national rankings with the help of Porch’s leadership and outstanding numbers. The Tigers were No. 9 in the NJCAA’s poll during the week of April 2, 2008.
Porch signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to join the University of North Alabama’s baseball program following his lone season in the City of Hospitality. He instantly became a reliable force for legendary headman Mike Lane and started in 45 of the Lions’ 46 contests as a junior.
He hit .327 with 53 hits, 46 runs scored and 43 RBIs for North Alabama and also registered an incredible .980 fielding percentage in 198 total chances.
Porch was named to both the All-Gulf South Conference and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) All-Region teams during his senior year. He was tabbed as the GSC East Division Player of the Week on March 16, 2010 as well.
The East Union High School product signed a contract with the Pensacola Pelicans after graduating from North Alabama. Porch amassed a .286 batting average with 40 RBIs to earn the American Association’s Rookie of the Year award.
He also inked deals with the Amarillo Sox and the Windy City Thunder in the American Association before retiring from professional baseball.
Porch was a seven-year starter at East Union, where he was drafted out of by the Atlanta Braves in the 32nd round of the 2006 Major League Baseball (MLB) First-Year Player Draft. He earned the Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association for Better Baseball (NEMCABB) Class 1A/2A Player of the Year that season as well.
Harry T. Cosby (Football 1976, 1977)
Harry T. Cosby anchored one of the best defenses in Northeast Mississippi Community College football history while under the tutelage of National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Hall of Fame coach W.B. (Bill) Ward.
During his sophomore year of 1977, Cosby and the Tigers held opposing teams to only 10.9 points per game. That mark is good for the third best in a season at Northeast.
The Tigers also posted three shutouts against Coahoma (32-0), Holmes (10-0) and Mississippi Delta (10-0), which is tied for the school record for most scoreless games for an adversary in one campaign.
Only two other Northeast squads have posted a trio of shutouts – the first ever Tiger team in 1949 that finished as the Mississippi Valley Conference champion at 5-5-1 under Woody Johnson and the Horace McCool led 1956 group that posted a program-best 10 victories.
Northeast finished with a winning record for the first time in nine seasons at 6-4 and as North Division runner-up in Cosby's final year in Booneville.
During the two-year span that the Iuka native starred on the gridiron at Northeast, the Tigers went a combined 10-10 with a 7-5 division record.
Cosby continued his football career at East Tennessee State University from 1978-79. In his two years at Johnson City, Tenn., the Buccaneers went 11-11 and notched their first winning campaign in nine seasons.
Among the list of those he played with at East Tennessee State is current Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith.
Cosby graduated with a degree is general dentistry and still has a practice today in Tupelo.
Ellis "Myrl" Crowe (Men's Basketball 1953-54, 1954-55; Baseball 1955)
Ellis "Myrl" Crowe began a career in the sport of basketball that would span six decades as a student at Thrasher High School before becoming a standout player at then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College.
Crowe started at forward in both his freshman and sophomore campaigns for legendary Tiger coach Bonner Arnold and found great success over the two-year period.
Both the 1953-54 and 1954-55 teams won the state championship. The Tigers made the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., during his freshman campaign and finished in seventh place.
He was named to the All-State team during his sophomore season of 1955 and also starred on the Tiger baseball squad as a pitcher that same year.
After leaving Booneville, Crowe continued his basketball playing days at then-Bethel College in McKenzie, Tenn., where he was named to the All-Volunteer State Athletic Conference team as a junior.
Upon graduating with a Bachelor's degree from Bethel, Crowe returned to the sport he loved as the head coach of Marietta High School's basketball programs in 1957.
Fans there got an early taste of what would become one of the most successful careers in Mississippi's storied basketball history when he led Marietta's girls team to a North Half appearance in 1960.
After five years in rural Prentiss County, Crowe moved to Kossuth High School where he rose to fame over the next 20 years.
Over that period of time, Crowe captured numerous Alcorn County Tournament and invitational tournament crowns on both the boys and girls side of the game.
The Aggies finished as the Mississippi Class A-AA state runner-up in back-to-back seasons from 1965-66. The 1964-65 edition also won the Tombigbee Conference title.
He made another North Half appearance with the Lady Aggies in 1974 and was named the conference Girls Coach of the Year in 1981.
Following that season, he took a hiatus from coaching before returning to the Kossuth sidelines as girls only coach in 1988. He also had a stint as the headman of the girls program at Booneville High School.
Crowe coached high school girls basketball for 31 seasons total, the first 26 with no losing seasons, and boys basketball for 19 years with only two campaigns without a winning record.
Combining both sides, Crowe won more than 950 games throughout his illustrious career to become another Hill Country basketball legend.
Mike Lewis (Baseball 1970, 1971; Head Men's Basketball Coach 1992-2004)
Mike Lewis continued the winning tradition that men's basketball fans of Northeast Mississippi Community College have come to expect each season.
Lewis compiled a 206-135 record in 12 years as the head coach of the Tigers. His tenure in Booneville saw the Alcorn County native win multiple awards and lead Northeast back to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament.
The 1994-95 edition caught on fire and won 16 of its last 20 games and qualified for the trip to Hutchinson, Kan., by winning the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.
Five years later, magic struck again for Lewis and Northeast. The Tigers swept through the 1999-2000 campaign as champions of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division, the MACJC State Tournament and the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.
Northeast's second excursion to the NJCAA National Tournament under Lewis saw the Tigers finish in eighth place. After the season, Lewis was named the Region 23 Coach of the Year for guiding Northeast to a 30-6 overall record.
Overall, he won four MACJC North Division Tournament titles (1993, 1994, 1995, 2000) and two MACJC State Tournament championships (1994, 2000) to go with his National Tournament appearances.
Lewis rose to prominence on the baseball diamond and not the hardwood as a player. He was a main member of the 1970 Tiger team that won the Mississippi Community College Conference North Division title and lost in a one-game playoff to Perkinston Junior College.
His prowess on the ballfield led Lewis to continue his playing career at Delta State University under legendary coach David "Boo" Ferriss. The 1972 Statesman team finished second in the Gulf South Conference Tournament and defeated NCAA Division I programs such as the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi.
Lewis earned a Bachelor's degree from Delta State and a Master's degree from the University of North Alabama.
Before becoming the headman of the Tigers, Lewis directed the programs of Alcorn Central High School, Biggersville High School and Water Valley High School.
At Alcorn Central, Lewis led the Golden Bears to a 112-55 record, one Division 1-3A title, a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 3A championship and three Tombigbee Conference crowns during his five-year tenure.
In 1988, Lewis was named the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal co-Coach of the Year and was named Coach of the Year by the Clarion-Ledger and the Daily Corinthian.
Lewis is currently the head boys basketball coach at Walnut High School. He and his wife Shirley have two daughters, Lesley and Lana.
Larry "Jerry" Reno (Men's Basketball 1970-71, 1971-72)
Jerry Reno was the latest in a long string of talented basketball players to enter the halls of then-Northeast Mississippi Junior College when he first stepped onto campus in 1970.
The Ripley native earned respect quickly and was named team captain as a freshman. He served in the same capacity during his second season in Booneville.
The 1970-71 edition of the Tigers under the direction of NEMCC Sports Hall of Fame coach Kenneth Lindsey finished with a 20-6 record, only two losses of which were in conference games.
A high-powered Northeast offense eclipsed the century mark in points six times 90 or more in four other games.
Northeast won the North Half title by defeating Mississippi Delta Junior College and earned the right to host the Mississippi Junior College State Tournament.
The Tigers ran the tables to the championship game, but lost to Hinds Junior College to conclude the season.
Reno was named second team All-State and led Northeast in free throw percentage and assists.
He again led the Tigers in the same two categories as a sophomore in 1971-72 on the way to earning first team All-State honors.
Reno's play on the court was so sharp that he earned a scholarship to then-Bethel College in McKenzie, Tenn.
Ray Scott (Baseball Coach 1992-2006)
Ray Scott brought the Northeast Mississippi Community College baseball program back to postseason prominence during his 15 seasons as head coach.
His very first team in 1992 won the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division for the first time in over 20 years. Ralph Johnson's 1970 squad was the last before then to do so and went 8-4-1 with a loss to Perkinston Junior College in a one-game state championship playoff.
The Tigers closed the regular season with eight straight wins and finished 20-23 overall, 14-6 in the North. They earned the right to host Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the MACJC State Championship series at Harold T. White Field.
The Bulldogs won the series, but Northeast still qualified for a program first National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Tournament.
Eight years later, Scott broke the school record for wins in a season at the time with 26 victories on the way to another playoff bid. Ronnie Key's 1989 troup held the previous mark with 24 wins.
All told, Scott left the baseball diamond as the winningest headman in program history with 277 total triumphs. His teams earned five postseason berths, including three straight from 1999-to-2001.
Northeast returned to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament in 2004 in the final playoff appearance of Scott's storied career.
Scott earned an Associate's degree from Northeast and both Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Mississippi State University. He started his coaching career with baseball and football stints at Baldwyn High School and Corinth High School.
He and his wife Wendy have two sons, current Tiger assistant Jon Andy and Jake.
Audrey Covington (Women’s Basketball 1986-87, 1987-88)
Audrey Covington starred on the hardwood during one of the most successful periods for the Lady Tiger basketball team.
During her first year, Covington helped lead Ricky Ford’s Lady Tigers to the 1986-87 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship with a perfect 34-0 record.
In Covington’s first year, Northeast swept through the regular season and knocked off Northwest Mississippi Community College 80-78 in the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Championship before heading to the NJCAA Region XXIII Tournament.
In the Region XXIII Tournament, Northeast earned a return trip to the national tournament in Senatobia by dispatching Utica (Hinds) in the championship game and the Lady Tigers rode that momentum to a four-game winning streak in theDivision I women’s national tournament – including knocking off St. Gregory’s in the national championship game 68-64.
In addition to winning the NJCAA national championship, Covington was a two-year starter under Ford and was named to the MACJC All-State and the NJCAA All-Region teams during her time in Booneville.
Following her career as a Lady Tiger, Covington stayed with the Tiger theme when she signed to play with Memphis State University for a pair of seasons in 1988-89 and 1989-90.
Benjamin Guy Gardner (Men’s Basketball 1998-99, 1999-2000)
Benjamin Guy Gardner helped lead the Northeast Tiger basketball team back to the national tournament during his time in Booneville.
Gardner, a two-time Tiger Award recipient, was captain of the 2000 Tiger basketball team that captured the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division, the MACJC State Championship and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII championship en route to a NJCAA national tournament appearance under former Tiger basketball coach Mike Lewis.
During his sophomore year in Booneville, Gardner finished the year second in assists and steals and was named to the MACJC All-State first team and the NJCAA RegionXXIII team as well.
Following his sophomore campaign, Gardner was selected to play in the MACJC Mississippi JUCO All-Star game in Decatur.
When not busy on the hardwood for the Tigers, Gardner was selected as Mr. Northeast Mississippi Community College and was also honored as an inductee into the Northeast Student Hall of Fame.
Gardner was also elected as a Student Government Association (SGA) freshman class favorite during his first year at Northeast and was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Gardner parlayed his successful Tiger career into a career with the Mississippi State University Bulldog basketball team where he helped the Bulldogs win the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Tournament championship in 2002.
Gardner helped lead the Bulldog basketball team to 27 wins – the most ever at that time – and was awarded the coveted Babe McCarthy Award at Mississippi State University.
Gardner also excelled in the classroom for the Bulldogs as well and was named to the All-SEC Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll and was a member of the Dean’s andPresident’s list while earning his Master’s in Education in Educational Administration in Starkville.
Freddie Copeland (Men’s Basketball 1973-74, 1974-75)
Freddie Copeland was one of the Tiger basketball team’s most prolific scorers during the mid-1970s.
Copeland donned the Tiger black and gold in 1973-74 and 1974-75 and became a mainstay in the statistical categories for Northeast. Copeland led the Tigers in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage during his time as a Tiger.
Copeland was also honored with the prestigious Tiger Award during his time in Booneville and was named to the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State basketball team.
Against Coahoma Community College on February 8, 1975, Copeland showed his scoring prowess by dropping 46 points against the Tigers in a 113-89 win over Coahoma.
After his time at Northeast, Copeland used his basketball talents to help guide the University of North Alabama Lions to one of its best seasons in school history.
In his junior season at UNA, Copeland helped the Lions post a 19-6 overall mark and a 9-4 record in the Gulf South Conference. UNA’s 19 wins was one of the best seasons in school history and the Lions’ 12 home wins set a school-record for most wins by a Lion basketball team at that time.
Not only did Copeland help transform his basketball teams offensively, Copeland was a threat on the defensive side of the ball as well. Under Lion head coach Bill Jones, Copeland and the Lions held the opposition to just 65 points a game during his junior season.
While at UNA, Copeland led the team in field goal percentage and rebounds while being named a small college honorable mention All-American and the Most Valuable Player of the Gulf South Conference.
Brandi Vondenstein Dannelly (Softball 2001-02, 2002-03)
Brandi Vondenstein Dannelly becomes the first Northeast Mississippi Community College (NEMCC) softball player to be inducted into the college’s Sports Hall of Fame.
UnderVondenstein’s guidance, Northeast’s softball team reached the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament during her final year in Booneville.
During her two years in Booneville, Vondenstein led the Lady Tiger softball team to a combined 58-29 and remarkable 28-4 record in the North Division.
In the 2003 season, Northeast finished the year 32-17 and perfect in the North at 12-0 while winning the North Division title, the NJCAA Region XXIII championship and appeared in the NJCAA National Tournament in Dodge City, Iowa.
Vondenstein became a hard ‘out’ for the opposition and struck out just two times in 129 at bats during her sophomore season – an average of one strikeout per every 64.5 at bats for the Lady Tiger third baseman.
In addition to helping lead the Lady Tigers to the national tournament, Vondenstein was named an National Fast-Pitch Coaches’ Association (NFCA) All-Region Louisville Slugger, an NJCAA All-American, an MACJC All-State selection and was picked to be part of the NFCA’s All-South Region team following her sophomore year.
In 2003, Vondenstein also served as team captain of the Lady Tiger softball team and was named an NJCAA Academic All-American.
After her time at Northeast, Vondenstein donned the black and green for Delta State and became an All-Gulf South Conference player at third base for the Lady Statesmen.
During her two years at Delta State, Vondenstein started 112 of 115 games for the Lady Statesmen and was on the Gulf South Conference’s All-Academic Team and was honored by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning with the Hollbrook Award for Academic Distinction in 2005.
Vondenstein later led the Bayou Academy Lady Colts to a Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) state championship in softball in 2006 – and had an 83-18 record with the Lady Colts. Vondenstein’s state championship in 2006 helped set the stage for five-consecutive state championships by the Lady Colts.
Malcolm Kuykendall (Alumni)
Former Tiger Malcolm Kuykendall came to Northeast Mississippi Junior College in 1966-68 and spent the rest of his professional life in education.
Since transferring from Northeast in 1968, Kuykendall went on to get his Bachelor’s of Science in Education from Delta State University in 1970 and his masters of education from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in 1977.
However it was the time that Kuykendall spend on the hardwood and as a high school and school district administrator where the former Tiger left his mark.
After a two-year stint at Nettleton High School (1970-72), Kuykendall relocated to Pine Grove and it was between Pine Grove and Belmont (1982-95) where Kuykendall brought back eight state championships and four state runner-up finishes to the northeast Mississippi region.
During his 10 years at Pine Grove (1972-82), Kuykendall won three state championships in 1977, 1981 and 1982.
At Belmont (1982-95), Kuykendall found his calling with five state championships and four state runner-up finishes.
Kuykendall captured the state championship in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988 and in his final year 1995 and finished as the state runner-up in 1984, 1989, 1990 and 1991.
During his coaching career, Kuykendall compiled a 669-139 record while coaching women’s basketball and a 348-182 mark while coaching men’s basketball. Kuykendall was named the Mississippi Coach of the Year four times – 1981, 1985, 1988 and 1993 – and was his district’s coach of the year eight times.
Kuykendall was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches’ Hall of Fame in 2000, the Delta State University Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001 and was a member of the inaugural class of inductees for the Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2009.
In addition to his coaching time, Kuykendall was also an assistant principal and principal in the Tishomingo County Special Municipal Separate School District for almost a quarter of a century where he helped the district reach new heights as it was recognized with some the highest accountability rankings according to both Mississippi and federal standards.
Kuykendall wrapped up his educational career as the Superintendent for the Tishomingo County Special Municipal Separate School District where the district had one of the best graduation and dropout rates according to Mississippi Accountability Standards.
UnderKuykendall’s leadership, the Tishomingo County Special Municipal Separate School District was recognized as a High Performing District each year.
Kuykendall was a member of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents (MASS) Board of Directors in 2011 and 2012 and was named the 2012 Mississippi Superintendent of the year.
Jim Drewry (Tiger Football 1950-51)
Jim Drewry led Northeast to its first two winning seasons as the Tiger quarterback on the 1950 and 1951 seasons.
In 1950, Drewry helped lead a Doug Hamley squad to a 6-2-2 mark and the Mississippi Conference Valley Championship with a 32-14 win over Sunflower Junior College.
During his time as the Tiger quarterback, Drewry guided Northeast to a 11-6-3 overall record that included back-to-back wins over Northwest Mississippi Community College (31-0 in 1950 and 34-7 in 1951) and Northeast’s 47 points against UT-College in 1951 still ranks as the sixth highest point total in school history and as the fourth highest winning margin for Northeast in its 52-year football history.
Following his time at Northeast, Drewry went on to play at Delta State University but it was his time on the sidelines at Kossuth, Booneville and Tishomingo high schools that Drewry made a name for himself.
However, it was his time at Delta State that Drewry got his first taste of being a coach and helped guide the 1954 Statesmen football team to an undefeated record and a national championship as part of E.B. Chadwick's coaching staff as a student assistant.
Drewry began his coaching career at Kossuth in 1958 and spent two seasons as the Aggies head man before moving to Brandon as an assistant coach in 1960.
Drewry returned home in 1965 and began his first stint as Booneville’s head coach leading the Blue Devils to three bowl games and a Tombigbee Conference co-championship in 1977 before leaving for his second stint at Kossuth from 1979-86.
After retiring to sell insurance in 1987-88, Drewry returned to the sidelines at now defunct Tishomingo High School in 1989 before returning to the Blue Devils in 1990 and guiding Booneville until his retirement in spring 2010.
During his second stint with Booneville, Drewry saw most of his success leading the Blue Devils to three state championships and four state runner-up finishes.
Drewry carried his work ethic into his final year as Booneville head coach where in his 50th season as a head coach, the former Northeast signal caller directed his team to a 13-1 record (starting out 13-0) and appearance in the Class 3A state semifinals.
In the spring 2010, Drewry finally hung up his coaching whistle at the age of 79 and with over 50 years in the football.
Drewry, who had retired one time before after the 1987 season, ended his coaching career as Mississippi’s all-time winningest football coach, passing Joe Bradshaw in the fall of 2009 with a 59-6 win over S.V. Marshall in the first round of the Class 3A state football playoffs.
Drewry finished his career with a 346-157-5 record in head coaching stops at Booneville, Kossuth and Tishomingo where his teams made the state playoffs 17 times and brought home the Class 2A state championship trophy in 1990, 1999 and 2000.
Drewry has been the recipient of many awards and honors and was named the 2009 Power of Influence Award recipient by the American Football Coaches Association.
In addition to the 2009 Power of Influence Award, Drewry has also been inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame.
In 2000, he was inducted into the Delta State University Alumni Coaches Hall of Fame and was named the Tombigbee Coach of the Year in 1967, 1969, 1978 along with being the District 1 Coach of the Year in 1985.
Drewry has also been honored as the Division 1-3A Coach of the Year in 1986, the Daily Corinthian Coach of the Year in 1993, 1997 and 1999 along with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Coach of the Year in 1999 and the Class 2A Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2000. In 2003, Drewry was named All-American Football Foundation's Gerald R. Ford All-American High School Coach of the Year, and in 2005, he was the first Mississippi recipient of the NSSA-USA Football Champions Award. Drewry has also had the honor of having a street named after him in the city of Booneville.
Currently, Drewry sits on an advisory board for the the American Football Coaches Association and has been figured in a trio of books about football in the state of Mississippi — Gridiron Gold, Gridiron Glory (which featured the Northeast alumni on the cover) and Y'all vs. Us showcasing the rivalry between Booneville and Baldwyn.
Johnny Buskirk (Tiger Football 1968-69)
Johnny Buskirk’s career at Northeast started off a new era of Tiger football. Buskirk championed the Northeast football team during the first two seasons after coming off an 11-year hiatus from 1957-67 and led Northeast to an 11-7 record during that time.
During his freshman year at Northeast, Buskirk was named the most outstanding player averaging nearly 270 yards per game running and passing and was nationally ranked for his offensive talents.
Buskirk’s sophomore season saw the Tiger signal caller bring the most success to Northeast’s football program since Horace McCool coached the team to a 10-1 mark in 1956.
Buskirk led Northeast to a 7-2 mark his sophomore year and more importantly was the Tiger Award recipient for that year and was named the most outstanding back in Mississippi inside the junior college ranks.
Buskirk is one of only a handful of football players to end his Northeast career on a four-game win streak. During the 1969 season, Buskirk capped his sophomore season with wins over Northwest, Copiah-Lincoln, a close 20-18 decision over Itawamba and a season-ending win over Perkinston.
Under Coach Bill Ward’s guidance, Buskirk was one of two National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Americans produced by Northeast in 1969. Joining Buskirk on the All-American team was tight end Donnie
In 1969, Buskirk led the Northeast to a 7-2 mark and in both his freshman and sophomore years, the former Tiger signal caller led Northeast to high offensive outputs.
In 1968, Northeast put up 48 points against Itawamba and then turned the trick again in 1969 with a 48-14 showing against East Central. The 48-point performance ranks fifth in school history for points scored and sits just one touchdown and extra point away from the top mark.
Following his time at Northeast, Buskirk took his skills to Mississippi College where he was a quarterback, running back and kick returner.
Buskirk’s talents helped him set a record at Mississippi College that holds to today – his six kickoff returns against Furman College in 1970 are still listed in the Mississippi College record book.
Following his time at Mississippi College, Buskirk entered the coaching ranks and was named the Tippamingo Conference Coach of the Year in 1974.
Vincent Del Negro (Tiger Basketball 1958-59, 1959-60)
Vincent Del Negro would have made Dominque Wilkins jealous as the “Human Highlight Reel” in the late 1950s.
In his first six games as a freshman on Bonner Arnold’s Tiger basketball team, Del Negro broke out for 172 points – a 34.4 points per game average – and never looked back.
During his freshman season in 1958-59, Del Negro helped lead the Tiger basketball team to the North Half Tournament and a 9-3 mark during North Division play before becoming an unanimous selection for the All-State Team.
In his first six games with the Tigers, Del Negro dropped 32, 32, 32, 34, 39 and 42 points – the latter two coming in a 109-85 win over Memphis State and a 96-95 decision over East Mississippi in Scooba.
During the 1959-60 season, Northeast made an improvement on its 12-12 record of Del Negro’s freshman campaign with a 15-12 mark that included wins over Freed-Hardeman and nationally ranked Vincennes (Ind.) 62-61.
In the one-point win over Vincennes, Del Negro let fellow Tiger captain Bobby McCarley knock down the last shot – a 23-foot jumper – but the 6-5 center had the final say, when Del Negro pulled down the game-ending rebound to seal the victory.
While scoring just 16 points against Freed-Hardeman in their first meeting, Del Negro made up for lost time with a 45-point effort against Freed-Hardeman in an 83-69 win and turned the trick once again with a 45-point night against East Mississippi in a 100-74 showing.
Del Negro’s biggest night came in a 46-point effort against Sunflower.
Del Negro was also popular with the student population as evident from him being voted Most Athletic on the Northeast campus during his sophomore year.
McCarley and Del Negro were also selected to play in the national all-star game together in Coffeyville, Kansas at the culmination of his sophomore season.
During his second season in Booneville, Del Negro led the nation with a 33.4 points per game average while racking up 1,022 points and was named a first-team All-American.
Del Negro helped lead Northeast to the North Half championship his sophomore season as the Tigers finished as runner-ups in the state.
Del Negro was an all-around athlete. During regular season play, the 6-5 center average 33.024 points per game, in North Half play 34 points per game and in the State Tournament 31.5 points per game.
In his two seasons at Northeast, Del Negro average 32.6 points per game as a freshman and 33.4 points per game as a sophomore.
Following his time in Booneville, Del Negro played for legendary coach Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky after signing a grant-in-aid scholarship with the program following his appearance in the national all-star game.
Sherry Slayton Holland (Lady Tiger Basketball 1985-86, 1986-87)
Sherry Slayton Holland made an immediate impact on the Northeast basketball scene when she joined Ricky Ford’s Lady Tigers during the 1985-86 and 1986-87 seasons.
Alongside Phyllis Stafford for two years and Kunshinge Sorrell Howard her first year, Slayton helped guide the Lady Tigers to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national tournament in both her years in Booneville.
During her freshman season, Slayton and the Lady Tigers dropped only one game all season and posted a 31-0 record heading into the national championship game against Odessa, Texas in 1986.
Slayton bested her freshman year one season later when the Lady Tigers went undefeated -- 34-0 -- en route to the 1987 national championship.
During her two years at Northeast, Slayton amassed a 65-1 record on the hardwood and was named to the MACJC All-State and NJCAA Region XXIII teams both years at Northeast.
Northeast swept through the regular season during Slayton’s sophomore year undefeated and knocked off Northwest Mississippi Community College 80-78 for the MACJC State Championship and then swept through the Region XXIII tournament before heading to Senatobia for the NJCAA National Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Northeast made good on its return trip as the Lady Tigers won four straight games in the Division I women's national tournament -- including the national championship game when Northeast upended St. Gregory's in the national championship game 68-64.
It was during the 1986-87 National Tournament that Slayton made a name for herself on the hardwood and was named the Most Valuable Player for the tournament.
During her sophomore season, Slayton led the Lady Tigers in steals per game and assists per game with 3.8 and 6.6 per game, respectively. Northeast’s undefeated season also saw Slayton piece together a 14.2 points per game average.
In her two years at Northeast, Northeast captured two North Division championships, two state championships, two Region XXIII championships, back-to-back Tyler, Texas Invitational Championships, a national runner-up finish and a national championship.
Following her sophomore season, Slayton was named an NJCAA All-American alongside Lady Tiger Phyllis Stafford.
Following her time at Northeast, Slayton took her talents to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) where she was joined by a pair of former Lady Tigers – Phyllis Stafford and Jackie Martin.
Ricky Ford (Lady Tiger Basketball 1981-2011, Athletic Director 2006-Present)
Former Northeast Mississippi Community College women's basketball coach Ricky Ford left his "built Ford tough" mark on many Lady Tiger teams since coming to Northeast in 1981.
On March 7, 2011 Ford announced he was stepping down as women's basketball coach at Northeast.
Ford ended his career at Northeast with an overall record of 588-226.
During his 30-year coaching career, Ford only had four sub-.500 seasons and the first of those did not come until his 2002-03 Lady Tigers finished 11-12 but even it finished as the North Division runner-up.
Within five years since taking over the Lady Tiger program in 1981, Ford had transformed the Lady Tigers into national title contenders that included a national runner-up finish in 1986 and a national championship in 1987.
During Ford's illustrious career, the Lady Tiger basketball coach led his team to 15 North Division titles, nine MACJC State Championships with 6 (six) of those state championships being consecutive and three Region XXIII crowns while leading the Lady Tigers to the National Junior College Athletic Association's (NJCAA) national basketball tournament on three separate occasions.
Ford went to the national tournament a final time in 2005-06 as the Lady Tigers captured the North Division, MACJC State and Region XXIII titles and finished the season as the nation's No. 21-ranked team after appearing in the national event in Salina, Kan.
Following his final national tournament appearance, Ford was honored as the Division I, District O, Region XXIII Coach of the Year - an award that is given to the head coach of each of the 16 regional championship teams.
One year after his national tournament appearance, Ford continued his success in the MACJC as the veteran mentor led the Lady tigers back to the Region XXIII tournament for a twenty-fifth straight year as the Lady Tigers once again captured the North Division - their fourth straight division title - and successfully defended their 2006 MACJC State Title.
While Ford may hung up his coaching whistle, the veteran coach still has plans to carry that same passion he showed on the basketball court into the academic life.
Ford was appointed Dean of Student Services at the beginning of the 2011 spring semester following the retirement of Kenneth Pounders, and is currently in his sixth year as athletic director for the college.
His responsibilities as athletic director has Ford overseeing the day-to-day operations of an athletic department that features eight varsity sports, an all-female cheerleading squad and also coordinates the annual MACJC All- Star Football Classic game that is held each year in December.
Prior to coming to Northeast, Ford built successful basketball programs at Booneville High School coaching the Lady Blue Devils for four years and the Blue Devils for a pair of seasons.
Ford's overall career record stands at 676-253 and carries a winning percentage of 72.7 percent into retirement.
Before putting on the coaching whistle, Ford also played basketball under Northeast Sports Hall of Fame coach/basketball player Kenneth Lindsey.
Mike Grier (Tiger Football 1968, 1969; Tiger Baseball 1969, 1970)
Mike Grier was a multi-sport athlete for the Tigers clocking time on the gridiron in 1968 and 1969 before flipping over to the baseball diamond in 1969 and 1970.
While on the gridiron for the Tigers, Grier led the Tigers and the North Division in interceptions by picking off eight passes and was named to the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges’ (MACJC) All-State Team in 1969. During that year, Grier finished second on the team in total tackles.
During his first year at Northeast, Grier was a first-team member of the All-North Half team in 1968.
After starring on the gridiron of two year, Grier turned his attention to baseball where the Selmer, Tenn., native continued his success leading the Tiger baseball team in home runs in both years.
Grier’s final year with the Tigers saw him led the Tigers to a runner-up finish in the MACJC State Tournament as part of the team. Following his time at Northeast, Grier headed to Eastern Illinois University from 1970-72 and set a then-school record for career interceptions with 14. Grier’s senior season with Eastern Illinois turned out to be his best when the defensive back was named to the first team all-conference defensive team and was named a first-team All-American for small colleges in 1972.
Grier’s 1972 season continues to be in the record books for Eastern Illinois as he finished second in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) with 11 interceptions -- and set a season record at Eastern Illinois, which stands today. Grier’s 11 interceptions in a season are four more than any other Eastern Illinois player has been able to record in a season.
Jack Martin (Tiger Basketball, 1950-51 1953-54)
Jack Martin’s career at Northeast was broken by his obligation to the war effort but Martin did not let a 13-month tour in the Republic of South Korea stop his athletic accomplishments.
During both his years at Northeast, Martin carried the Northeast Tiger basketball team to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Basketball Tournament.
Martin, who was known for his defensive prowess on the hardwood, ended up guarding the opposing team’s best player. During his first year at Northeast, Martin teamed with Charles ‘Doodle’ Floyd -- who is a charter member of the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame -- and carried the Tiger basketball team to a runner-up finish in the national tournament.
In 1950-51, Martin led the Tigers to Hutchinson, Kan., before Northeast dropped the championship game to Los Angeles College of California 67-63.
Martin’s charisma followed him back to Northeast following his break from the academic environment for the war effort. Martin was selected at Mr. Northeast Mississippi Junior College for 1953-54 even after missing the previous year as part of the United States Army.
Following his time at Northeast, Martin joined up with The Whiskered Wizards, a semi-professional traveling basketball team, that traversed the southern United States playing against other independent basketball teams.
Kunshinge Sorrell Howard (Lady Tiger Basketball, 1984-85, 1985-86)
Kunshinge Sorrell Howard made a name for herself on the hardwood in Bonner Arnold Coliseum from 1984-86 and carried the Lady Tigers’ basketball team to the national championship game in 1986.
During her time under Northeast women’s basketball coach Ricky Ford, Sorrell was named to the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State teams in both seasons with the Lady Tigers and pulled off the rare double by being named to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) Region XXIII team in both years at Northeast as well.
During her sophomore season, Sorrell helped lead the Lady Tiger basketball team to the national basketball tournament and collected first-team All-American honors for her final season with the Lady Tigers.
During the 1985-86 season, Sorrell and the Lady Tigers dropped only one game all season and scorched the record books for a 31-0 season before facing off against Odessa, Texas in the national championship game.
Following her time at Northeast, Sorrell took her talents to Mississippi State University where she was named to the All-Southeastern Conference team both years -- 1987-88 and 1988-89.
Sorrell’s final year with the Lady Bulldogs saw the former Northeast Lady Tiger lead the Southeastern Conference in scoring at 20.7 points per game with 662 points in 32 games.
Despite only playing two seasons for the Lady Bulldogs, Sorrell amassed 1,292 points (20.8 points per game) -- good enough for eight all-time on the Lady Bulldog scoring charts. All seven Lady Bulldogs ahead of Sorrell on the list played for four seasons at Mississippi State.
Sorrell was also only one of two two-year players at Mississippi State to break the 1,000-point plateau. Mary Boatwright, a Lady Bulldog from 1979-81, amassed 1,177 points during her career.
Phyllis Stafford Dilworth (Lady Tiger Basketball 1985-86, 1986-87)
Phyllis Stafford Dilworth joined the Northeast Lady Tiger basketball team in Kunshinge Sorrell Howard’s final year with the Lady Tigers but the duo made an impact on the basketball world.
Stafford, who was a member of the Lady Tiger basketball team from 1985-87, helped lead Northeast to the national tournament in both her years in Booneville.
During her freshman season, Stafford and the Lady Tigers dropped only one game all season and posted a 31-0 record heading into the national championship game against Odessa, Texas in 1986.
Stafford bested her freshman year one season later when the Lady Tigers went undefeated -- 34-0 -- en route to the 1987 national championship. Stafford made sure of the return trip to the national tournament when the forward broke out for 31 points and 14 rebounds in the Region XXIII championship game in Clinton against Utica (Hinds) in earning the return trip to the national tournament.
During her two years at Northeast, Stafford amassed a 65-1 record on the hardwood and was named to the MACJC All-State and NJCAA Region XXIII teams both years at Northeast. Stafford’s sophomore season at Northeast saw her selected as a first-team All-American by the NJCAA.
Northeast swept through the regular season during Stafford’s sophomore year undefeated and knocked off Northwest Mississippi Community College 80-78 for the MACJC State Championship and then swept through the Region XXIII tournament before heading to Senatobia for the NJCAA National Basketball Tournament.
Northeast made good on its return trip as the Lady Tigers won four straight games in the Division I women’s national tournament -- including the national championship game when Northeast upended St. Gregory’s in the national championship game 68-64.
Following her time at Northeast, Stafford took her talents to the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) where she was named to the coaches’ All-Southeastern Conference second team in 1989.
David Carnell (Tiger Football Coach 1972-1996; Lady Tiger Softball Coach 1993-2005, Athletic Director 1996-2005)
David Carnell’s dedication to Northeast Mississippi Community College spans nearly five decades. Carnell originally came to the college in 1972 as a member of the Northeast Mississippi Junior College football coaching staff but the former athletic director left his mark in a totally different sport when guided Northeast’s transition from slow-pitch to fast-pitch softball at the turn of the century and had the Lady Tigers in the national tournament within three years.
Carnell’s run on the gridiron at Northeast came after the long-time coach helped found the program at Biggersville High School and served as the high school’s first football coach. Carnell was an assistant football coach for 10 years -- 1972-82 before taking over the reins of the program from W.B. “Bill” Ward in 1983. Carnell won two of his first four games including victories over Holmes (15-7) and Coahoma (45-0) as the Tigers went on to finish the 1983 season as the North Division runner-ups.
After three years at the helm, Carnell gave up the head-coaching role and returned to be an assistant coach for the Tiger football team until 1996 when he dedicated his focus to softball.
Carnell resurrected the Northeast softball program in 1993 after an almost 10-year hiatus away from competition and posted a 17-16 record during the Northeast’s first year back in slow-pitch competition and started a run to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA)
Region 23 Tournament that would stretch through the transition to fast-pitch competition and until his retirement in 2005.
During Carnell’s years, Northeast was the only school in Mississippi to boast a 13-year run in the Region 23 Tournament – covering both slow- and fast-pitch softball – 1994-2006.
Carnell replaced Ward once again in 1996 when the veteran coach took over the role of athletic director for Northeast Mississippi Community College and held the position while coaching softball until his retirement in 2005-06.
During his time on the slow-pitch diamond, Carnell led the Northeast Lady Tiger softball team to four straight North Division runner-up finishes -- 1994-98 -- before finally breaking through as the North Division champion in 1999. Carnell led the Lady Tigers to seven straight Region 23 tournaments before the college switched to fast-pitch competition in 2001.
Carnell and the Lady Tigers did not miss a note with the switch staking a 28-12 record during their first year in fast-pitch competition, were co-North Division champions, and placed third in the state/region tournament. During the 2000-01 season, Northeast was ranked as high as fifth in the nation twice.
Carnell continued to fine-tune the Northeast fast-pitch softball team with five straight North Division championships --2001-05 -- and saw his team finish as the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges’ state runners-up three straight years from 2003-05.
Northeast’s crowning moment came in 2003 when the Lady Tigers qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association’s National Softball Championship after winning the Region 23 championship.
Northeast came close to a return trip to the national tournament in Carnell’s final years at the helm finishing as the Region 23 runner-up in 2004 and 2005. Carnell not only pushed his athletes on the diamond but demanded excellence in the classroom as well and was awarded as the NJCAA’s Academic Team of the year in 2000 -- Northeast’s first year of fast-pitch competition -- and was among the top academic teams in the country in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Carnell was named the Region 23 Coach of the Year in 2003 and was honored as the MACJC Coach of the Year in 2005 and given the NJCAA’s Loyalty Award in 2005.
After retiring, Carnell returned as a part-time assistant coach to the softball program from 2006-08 before finally hanging up his cleats.
In total, Carnell recorded 301 wins against 223 losses during his time as head football and slow- and fast-pitch coach.
Gerald Caveness (Tiger Basketball 1950-51, 1953-54)
Caveness helped lead the Tiger basketball team to a pair of national tournaments during his time on the hardwood for Northeast. Caveness was part of the Tigers’ national runner-up squad in 1951 with Northeast Sport Hall of Fame inductees Kenneth Lindsey and Clyde Jones along with coach Bonner Arnold and a pair of seasons away from the hardwood, Caveness turned the trick with the Tigers again in 1954. During the 1951 season, the Tiger basketball team turned in a 50- 9-1 record.
Clyde Jones (Tiger Basketball 1950-51, 1951-52)
Clyde Jones was a standout on the Northeast basketball team from 1950-52 before moving onto Delta State University where he continued his basketball career. During Jones’ time at Northeast, he led the Tiger basketball team a runner-up finish in the national tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. Jones also helped the Tigers capture the state tournament title as well as the Region VII tournament title in Shreveport, La., en route to the national tournament appearance. During the 1951 season, the Tiger basketball team turned in a 50-9-1 record.
Evelyn Thompson (Lady Tiger Basketball 1986-87, 1987-88)
Evelyn Thompson made an impact on the Lady Tiger basketball program during her first year at Northeast. Thompson, who appeared on the court for Northeast from 1986-88, helped the Lady Tigers capture the national championship in her initial year with the program. During the Lady Tigers’ run to the national championship, Thompson earned Kodak All-American honors as well as All-Region, All-State and All-Conference awards. Following her career at Northeast, Thompson carried her game to Auburn University where she led the Lady Tigers to a pair of national runner-up finishes.
Larry Parker (Tiger Football 1976, 1977)
Larry Parker, a native of Lauderdale County, carried the load for the Tiger football team during the 1976 and 1977 football seasons. Parker toted the ball an average of 23.5 times during his tenure at Northeast averaging over 100 yards a game for the Tigers. Parker carried the ball 469 times during his two years at Northeast, accumulated 2,232 yards, and registered 16 touchdowns during the 1976 and 1977 seasons. During both his years at Northeast, Parker was named the Tigers’ best offensive back and the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1977. During his sophomore season, Parker was selected to play in the annual all-star football classic and was named to the All-State team as well as being named an honorable mention All-American. Northeast’s sportsmanship award is named after Parker.
Harvey Childers (Tiger Basketball Coach 1985-1992)
During his seven seasons at the Northeast helm, Harvey Childers guided the Tigers to a 192-34 record including five North Division titles, one Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges title and three Region XXIII championships. Childers parlayed those three Region XXIII championships into three National Tournament appearances taking the Tigers to the NJCAA National Championship game in 1988-89 with a 23-3 record. Childers guided Northeast to its first Region XXIII championship since 1950 when his Tigers picked up the regional crown in 1986-87.
The Tiger mentor capped his career in 1991-92 when the Tigers went 30-5, won the region and advanced to the National Tournament. Childers had the Tigers ranked as high as No. 3 during his final season.
During its inaugural Sports Hall of Fame class, Northeast inducted ten former coaches, players and supporters of Northeast Mississippi Community College athletics. Harold T. White, W.B. ‘Bill’ Ward, Ken Lindsey, Chuck ‘Doddle’ Floyd, Gene Garret, Adrian Smith, Kenneth ‘Cat’ Robbins, David ‘Nub’ Strickland, Earline ‘Woodsie’ Woods and Bonner Arnold were all honored as members of the college’s first class.
Bonner Arnold (Tiger Basketball Coach, Athletic Director 1948-1974)
Bonner Arnold was head basketball coach, athletic director and physical education instructor at Northeast from 1948-1974. Arnold and legendary Kentucky Wildcat men’s basketball coach Adolph Rupp were friends. As a result of this friendship and the success of the Kentucky basketball program, Arnold wanted the school’s athletic teams to sport a similar nickname. “Fighting Tiger” was adopted. Later, the school’s athletic program grew to include men’s and women’s varsity sports. “Fighting” was dropped and the teams became known as the “Tigers” and “Lady Tigers”. Northeast’s gymnasium, named Bonner Arnold Coliseum after the late coach, opened its doors in 1951. Arnold was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1978 and the MACJC (Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges) Sports Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Chuck “Doodle” Floyd (Tiger Basketball 1952-53, 1953-54)
Chuck “Doodle” Floyd was a star and leader of the legendary 1951-52 Cuba High School (Ky.) state runner-up and championship teams. In terms of Color, come-from-behind wins, and popular fan support, the Cuba team of 1952 is considered by many to have no equal in basketball history in Kentucky. Floyd was voted to the Lexington Herald All-State team in 1951 and 1952 and was chosen to participate in Chuck Taylor’s North/South All American Game in 1952. “Doodle” was a Northeast Tiger from 1953-54 where he led the nation in scoring during both years, was voted a Junior College All-American, and made the National Junior College All Tournament Team in 1953 and 1954. Later staring at Mississippi Southern, Floyd scored 66 points in a game versus the University of Alabama in 1955. Floyd has since participated in the Senior Olympics during 2004- 06, qualifying for nationals in 2007.
Gene Garrett (Tiger Basketball 1948-49, 1949-50)
Gene Garrett moved to Booneville during his senior year of high school and later attended Northeast from 1948-50. Garrett shined as a member of the Northeast Tigers basketball team during those years and was named to the All-State Tournament team, All-Region Tournament team, and All-National Tournament team during both his freshman and sophomore seasons. In 1950, Garrett led Northeast to a runner-up finish in the Junior College National Tournament, and for his efforts was named an All-American. Following his Northeast career, Garrett attended Murray State University in Kentucky for one year and was a member of the Racers’ ninth ranked basketball team before being drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps. During the 1951-52 season Garrett led the California Naval District in scoring. He later returned to Murray State where he finished his education.
Ken Lindsey (Tiger Basketball 1950-51, 1951-52; Assistant Basketball Coach)
Ken Lindsey was a two-time All-State selection as a basketball star at Booneville High School during his three-sport career in 1945-1949. Lindsey starred as a basketball player at Northeast from 1950-51 where he was selected as an All-American following both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Lindsey’s 1950 team won 50 games and lost ten. One year later Lindsey, then a sophomore, led the Tigers to a record of 51-1-1. Lindsey later became an assistant coach at Northeast on the 1955-56 state championship team. The Booneville native followed a stellar playing and coaching career with a ten year stint at Vice President of Northwest Community College in Senatobia, Miss., from 1980-1990, where he was responsible for luring the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) women’s national basketball tournament to be hosted by NWCC for three years.
Kenneth “Cat” Robbins (Tiger Basketball Coach, Lady Tiger Basketball Coach 1966-1968)
Kenneth (Cat) Robbins’ coaching career began at Jumpertown High School in 1953, and then to Union County from 1954-65 where he coached both the boys and girls teams at Ingomar High School. Robbins’ 1958 Ingomar girls’ team won the Grand Slam Championship in 1958 with a record of 54 wins and 0 losses. 1962 was another banner year for Robbins at Ingomar as he coached the Ingomar girls to a 53-1 record and a State Championship, while leading the Ingomar boys to a runner-up finish during the same season. Robbins also coached baseball at Ingomar. During his stint at IHS, Cat’s overall girls basketball record was 401 wins and 85 losses, while his boys teams were 328-85. His success there led Robbins to Northeast where he coached both men and women on the basketball court from 1966-68. Under Robbins the 1968 the Northeast Tigers went 28-1 en route to a state title. His coaching career later led him to the University of Mississippi (1969-75) where Robbins was assistant men’s basketball coach, head recruiter, and was instrumental in initiating Ole Miss’ basketball camps. In 1976 Robbins coached the West Union High School boys basketball team to a State Championship with a 52-2 record. Then it was back to the junior college ranks for 13 years as head men’s basketball coach at Northwest Mississippi Junior College from 1977-94. Robbins retired from coaching in 1997 after a two year stint at North Pontotoc High School. All totaled, Robbins coached basketball in high school, college, and the Armed Services for 45 years.
Adrian “Odie” Smith (Tiger Basketball 1954-55, 1955-56)
Adrian Smith of Cincinnati, Ohio, an All-American guard on Northeast’s men’s basketball teams from 1954-1956, averaged approximately 22 points per game during his career. He was named All-American in 1956 and signed with the University of Kentucky. After two years at Kentucky, Smith joined the Army and played on the Pan-American team. He was a member of the undefeated U.S. men’s basketball team that won the gold medal in the 1960 Olympics. Smith was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals with the first pick in the fifteenth round of the 1958 draft. He joined the team in 1961. His career also included stops with the San Francisco Warriors and the Virginia Squires of the ABA. During his time the Warriors, legendary Celtic coach Red Aurbach picked him to play in the 1966 All-Star game. Smith was selected Most Valuable Player of the game that year. According to Wikipedia, Smith averaged 11.8 points per game during his professional career. He led the league in free throw shooting percentage during the 1966-67 season, with a success percentage of .903.
David “Nub” Strickland (Tiger Football 1950, 1953)
David “Nub” Strickland was a captain on the 1950, and 1953 Northeast football teams. As twoway player at offensive and defensive end, “Nub” was twice named the All-State at Northeast. After stepping away from his football career in order to fill his obligations with the U.S. Marine Corp, Strickland attended Memphis State University from 1957-58 where he starred on the gridiron, enough so to garner offers to play professional football. Strickland spent time in the CFL with the Ontario Golden Bears for two years, before finishing his pro career with the Denver Broncos. Strickland’s number 88 jersey has been retired by Northeast.
W.B. “Bill” Ward (Tiger Football, Tiger Football Coach, Athletic Director 1948-1949; 1968-1996)
W.B. “Bill” Ward, longtime football coach and athletic director at Northeast, coached his last football game at NEMJC in 1982 and retired as the school’s athletic director in 1996. Ward’s career coaching record stands at 152-118-8. He was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988 and received a 40-year-service award from that association in 1994. In 1995 the NJCAA honored Coach Ward with the Loyalty Award. The street in Booneville which runs from Second Street to Third Street in front of the south end of Tiger Stadium was named “Coach Billy Ward Drive” in 2004.
Harold T. White (President)
Harold T. White was a member of the 1942 state championship football team at Perkinston Junior College. After the first semester, he entered the United States Army Air Corps and served until the end of World War II. After the war, White returned to Perkinston and graduated in 1947. In 1951 White was hired as assistant football coach at Perkinston and the following year he was named head coach, a position which he held for five years. In 1953 his Bulldogs tied Co-Lin in the Laurel Lions Bowl. White also served as women’s basketball coach and his 1953 team won the South Division championship. He was the college’s athletic director from January 1957 to June 1961. In 1965 Harold White resigned from Perkinston to become President at Northeast Mississippi Junior College. At Northeast White led the resurgence of the dormant Tiger football program by hiring a legendary area high school coach, Bill Ward. He was a staunch supporter of Northeast Tiger athletics and made numerous improvements to the athletic programs of the college.
Earline “Woodsie” Woods (Sports Supporter)
Earline “Woodsie” Woods has been an avid supporter of Northeast athletics since her days as a student. Woodsie was employed at Northeast from 1954-1995 as bookkeeper then as fiscal officer of the college. She has supporter the college’s athletics with both her attendance and her gifts during those 40+ years and continues to do so. She currently supports a variety of the athletic fundraisers of the Development Foundation. A more loyal Tiger fan cannot be found than “Woodsie”. Her name has become synonymous with Northeast through the years. Without a doubt, she has given great time and energy to support the Tigers during the history of the college.