September 10, 2009 11:06:00 AM
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- It doesn''t surprise Chuck Friend or Bracky Brett that Travis Macon went into coaching.
While Friend and Brett were coaching at Starkville High School, they got to watch Macon mature as a football player.
Macon''s path in football led him into coaching where he works with the defensive line at Northeast Mississippi Community College (0-2), which plays host to Itawamba Community College at 7 tonight.
Friend, now the coach at Neshoba Central High, remembered how Macon worked to get where he is today.
"When he was in the ninth grade, I don''t know if I''d given you 50 cents for him because he was just a skinny kid, but he worked hard and he really developed some leadership," Friend said. "He was very team-oriented. It didn''t matter to him if he ever had a catch or all he did was block. He wasn''t a ''me'' guy."
Macon became a tight end as a sophomore at Starkville High and started his junior and senior years (1994-95) on the school''s state championship teams.
Brett, who is now Mississippi State associate athletic director for compliance, was Friend''s assistant coach at Starkville High. He said Macon had the desire to be the best he could be.
"We had a ton of really great players and Travis was a good player, but he got there because he just worked so hard," Brett said. "He showed up every day. I think he will do a really great job (coaching at Northeast) because he''s a hard worker and wanted to do so well. He was always so dedicated."
Macon said he learned his work ethic from his parents, Bobby and Joyce, and especially his father.
"My dad is a very hard worker, and I really respect everything he comes from," Travis Macon said. "His dad died at a young age and he basically took care of his mom and himself. My mom was a hard worker, too."
Macon also appreciates the support he receives from his wife, Deimara, and his children -- Haleih, Brian, and Ambrielle.
Friend said his teams at Starkville High didn''t throw the football enough to realize Macon''s talent as a receiver, but he was impressed with his blocking ability.
"Travis knew what it took to win and he turned out to be an outstanding football player," Friend said. "He comes from a really good family, and he''s really done well."
Macon went from Starkville High to Northeast Mississippi C.C. to play for two years and then transferred to the University of Mississippi, where he played offensive tackle from 2000-02.
After his playing career, Macon went into coaching and liked Northeast C.C. enough to begin his career there as a student assistant last season.
"I always knew I wanted to be a coach but really started getting into it about three and a half years ago," Macon said. "I ended up meeting with coach (Ricky) Smither and Andy Green (at Northeast). They gave me an opportunity to pursue my career.
"Things are going well for me. I''ve got some great guys around me and it helps make my job easier."
Smither said he is fortunate to have a person like Macon on his staff. He''s impressed with Macon''s faith and how he deals with the players.
"He''s the whole package," Smither said. "He''s a young enough guy to where he still relates well. He''s mature enough to set himself apart and he''s a positive role model. He''s able to set an example for them because he''s gone through all the stuff they go through. He''s not afraid to witness to them."