Pearl, Miss. - For a third consecutive year, a former Northeast Mississippi Community College women's basketball player will officially gain recognition as one of the greatest all-time athletes in the rich history of the Magnolia State.
Audrey Covington has been selected as Northeast's representative to enter the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Sports Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony for the class of 2017 is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25 at the Clyde Muse Center on the Rankin County campus of Hinds Community College.
"I congratulate Audrey for this selection," said Northeast president Ricky Ford. "Audrey was always a coaches dream. She was ready to play at every opportunity we presented to her. Audrey not only was a great athlete, but she is a great individual that I admire and respect."
Covington becomes the fifth representative of the Lady Tigers in the MACJC Sports Hall of Fame. She joins Brenda Mayes and Kunshinge Sorrell-Howard, who both currently coach the Northeast ladies, Phyllis Stafford Dilworth plus her mentor in Ford.
"I've just been overwhelmed," Covington said. "To follow in their footsteps is just absolutely great. My years at Northeast were the best. If it had been a four-year college, that would have been my choice from the beginning."
Her inaugural campaign with the Lady Tigers happens to still be the best in program history. She played an integral role during Northeast's perfect run to the 1987 national championship.
Covington earned the starting job at point guard as a freshman and led the Lady Tigers on a 13-game winning streak, which included the Tyler (Texas) Junior College Tournament championship, by the Christmas break.
Northeast vaulted into the top spot in the Associated Press (AP) national rankings prior to the MACJC North Division Tournament after compiling a 23-0 record during the regular season.
The Lady Tigers continued their impressive stretch by defeating Northwest Mississippi Community College and Utica Junior College for the state and region titles, respectively, to punch their ticket to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.
Covington helped Northeast dispatch of Casper (Wyo.) College, Kilgore (Texas) College and Moberly Area (Mo.) Community College by an average margin of victory of 25 points to reach the title contest.
The Lady Tigers then knocked off St. Gregory's (Okla.) College in the finals of the tournament, which was held at Northwest's Howard Coliseum, by a 68-64 score to capture the first and only national championship in school history.
Covington had the most assists for Northeast during her inaugural year on the Booneville campus. She was also decorated with the Tiger Award, which is presented annually to a student-athlete in each sport that portrays a positive attitude on-and-off the field or court of competition.
The Brownsville, Tenn., native was just as good during her sophomore season at Northeast. Covington averaged 14 points on the strength of a 56-percent mark from the floor and 75-percent ledger from the free throw line with 4.2 rebounds per game as well.
Covington had several stellar performances in a 5-0 start by the Lady Tigers, including 20 points against Mississippi County (Ark.) Community College (now Arkansas Northeastern College) and a game-high 16 points versus Martin Methodist (Tenn.) College.
She remained hot during the opening of conference play in January and had 23 points in a 110-39 victory over Holmes Community College and 21 points in a 105-57 triumph versus Mississippi Delta Community College.
Covington and her crew moved into the postseason with a sensational overall record of 24-2 plus another high ranking to their credit at No. 11 in the entire country.
Northeast first defeated Coahoma Community College for the MACJC North Division Tournament title and then, behind 22 points from Covington, bested those same Lady Tigers for its fourth consecutive state championship.
She was named to the MACJC All-State and NJCAA All-Region 23 teams during her tenure in the City of Hospitality. Covington lost a combined three games throughout her pair of seasons with the Lady Tigers.
"It was a very successful two years," said Covington. "I don't think it really hit me until after it was all over with. Coach Ford and his family took me in as family since I wasn't able to travel back home. Him choosing me and giving me an opportunity to come to Northeast is something I've never forgotten."
Covington returned to her home state upon the completion of her career at Northeast by signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with the University of Memphis (Tenn.).
She still appears in the Lady Tigers' record book multiple times. Covington tied the school record for field goal percentage in one contest among juniors with a flawless six-of-six performance against Fairfield (Conn.) University on November 24, 1989.
Covington also had the sixth most assists in a single game among seniors with 11 versus the University of Missouri on December 1, 1990. She is also one of only a handful of Memphis players to score more than 20 points in a season-opener with 22 against Lamar (Texas) University in the 1990-91 lid-lifter.
She came to Northeast as the all-time leading scorer at Haywood (Tenn.) High School, where she received Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) All-State honors.
Covington was inducted into the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. She is currently an instructor at East (Tenn.) High School in Memphis where her duties have included coaching the sports of basketball, softball and volleyball.