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EMCC will induct six into Sports Hall of Fame


From Special Reports



SCOOBA -- East Mississippi Community College will induct six members to its Sports Hall of Fame on Friday night as part of its Homecoming festivities. 


The induction ceremony will be part of a weekend that will feature the nationally ranked football team taking on Coahoma C.C. at 2 p.m. Saturday. 


Jose Casanova, Ravon Cumberland, Ruth Johnson Ethridge, Randall Mackey, Jay Miller, and Marcus Wood. All six will be honored Friday night at a reception and a banquet at the F.R. Young Student Union. They also will be recognized Saturday at halftime of the football game at EMCC's Sullivan-Windham Field. 


EMCC also will honor the school's 2017 Alumnus of the Year (Pat Webb) and Distinguished Service Award winner (Nick Clark). Webb and Clark will be honored at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at a luncheon at the F.R. Young Student Union. They also will be recognized at halftime of the football game. 


Casanova, who works in commercial real estate in the Birmingham, Alabama, area, was twice named the most valuable defensive lineman in the Mississippi junior college ranks at East Mississippi Junior College while playing for current EMCC Director of Athletics Dr. Randall Bradberry. 


The 1982 NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American then became a two-year starter for Frank Beamer at Murray State. 


Cumberland, who grew up in the Coy community of Preston, excelled in academics and athletics at Prince Chapel School and Lynville High School before playing point guard on Coach Keyes T. Currie's basketball team at East Mississippi Junior College. With a lifelong interest in business and a math education degree from Mississippi State, he became the owner of Cumberland General Stores in the Lynville and Preston communities. Having also taught and coached at the junior high and high school levels during his career, Cumberland later spent 21 years as a fireman at Naval Air Station Meridian before retiring in 1988. 


Johnson Ethridge, who was born in Lauderdale County and resides in Collinsville, spent 36 years as a teacher in Louisiana and Mississippi. Following her graduation from Center Hill High School in 1949, she attended East Mississippi Junior College on a basketball scholarship, where she played two seasons, worked in the school cafeteria, served as editor of the school's student newspaper, and was a member of the BSU, among other activities. She went on to earn her bachelor's degree in business and master's degree in English from Southern Mississippi. She spent 15 years as a teacher in Mississippi and 20 years as an English instructor at East Jefferson High School in Metairie, Louisiana, before retiring in 1989. 


Mackey helped lead coach Buddy Stephens' EMCC Lions to a 19-3 record as a two-time NJCAA All-America quarterback. After leading Bastrop (La.) High School to three-straight state championships, Mackey capped his EMCC career by quarterbacking the 2009 Lions to their first Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State title. He threw for 5,940 career yards and 56 touchdowns and rushed for 1,065 yards before heading to Ole Miss. 


Mackey started 15 games at three positions for the Rebels, accounting for 2,027 career all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns. He coaches quarterbacks at his high school alma mater. 


Miller, who is from Noxubee County, played and coached football at EMCC before moving on to make his mark among the coaching ranks of the MACJC. He was signed by legendary coach Bob "Bull" Sullivan and helped lead the Lions to a two-year mark of 16-4. 


A graduate of Mississippi State, Miller began his 26-year coaching career with a two-year stint as EMCC's defensive coordinator. After helping to guide Mississippi Delta C.C. to state runner-up finishes in 1989 and 1991 as an assistant coach, he directed Itawamba C.C. to MACJC North Division titles in 1994-95. Miller returned to MDCC in 2003 for a final stint as head coach before retiring in 2012.  


Wood was a standout player and assistant coach at EMCC. He is working to oversee the college's fundraising efforts as executive director of college advancement 


Wood served on Stephens' coaching staff from 2008-16. The Starkville native helped guide the Lions to three national championships, five state titles, and eight division crowns. A 20-year coaching veteran of the Magnolia State, Wood played for and coached under Hall of Fame football coach Tom Goode at EMCC.



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