The time is right for Brian Alexander. The 17-year coaching veteran didn’t know how Russell Brooks found his name, but he didn’t dismiss the opportunity that will keep him on the court through the summer. Alexander, a former assistant boys basketball coach for Sammy Smith at Columbus High, is the head coach of the World Basketball Association Exposure League’s Tupelo Rock-n-Rollers.
STARKVILLE — Mississippi State junior sprinter Dwight Mullings knows his coaches believe in him. Each time Mullings runs a race, associate track coach Steve Dudley tells him he can do a little bit better.
The roads between Starkville to Memphis are going to be a little more busier during the college basketball season thanks to Latavious Williams. The former Starkville High School player announced Tuesday his commitment to play basketball at the University of Memphis.
Chad Davis is excited about Columbus. As sales and marketing director for Ring Media Group, it’s Davis’ job to find new markets to showcase mixed martial arts, one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Davis believes he has found one in The Friendly City — and at just the right time.
Chris Sykes and Elmo Brown have plenty of basketball left. Now the 34-year-old former Aberdeen High School and Delta State standout has to convince someone he’s right. Sykes and Brown, 34, a former basketball player at Columbus High, are two of 10 players on the roster for the Tupelo Rock-n-Rollers of the World Basketball Association Exposure League. They hope to use the league to showcase their talent and to land another job that will pay them to play professional basketball.
Jarvis Gunter was a teenager the first time he experienced Kids With Character. As a member of the Columbus High School boys basketball team, Gunter and his peers volunteered at the free camp and were charged with being a positive influence for the younger kids in the community.
Chris Herring and Kenny Tice never imagined they would have to be spokespeople. But the former New Hope High School baseball player and NHHS parent believe it is time to speak out. After remaining quiet throughout the season and watching momentum build against New Hope High baseball coach Stacy Hester, Herring and Tice said Saturday they believe people in the community are on a “personal vendetta” and “crusade” to remove Hester as the school’s coach.
Billy Ray Lee knows there is a fine line in coaching. In more than 30 years as a coach, Lee has learned some players respond to one style of coaching while others need to be motivated another way. Lee has seen that dynamic play out in his two years with the New Hope High School baseball program. In that time, Lee has seen New Hope High coach Stacy Hester is a lot like him.
New Hope High School will have a new girls basketball coach for the 2009-10 school year. Tim Vaughan resigned for personal reasons Tuesday as coach at his alma mater to be an assistant girls basketball coach for Yvonne Hairston at Columbus High School. Vaughan, who led the Lady Trojans to a 31-18 record the past two seasons, said Saturday he hasn’t signed a contract to make the move official, but that he expects to be a full-time social studies teacher in the fall at Columbus High.
University of Alabama baseball coach Jim Wells is set to hear that one of his teams has been invited to an NCAA Regional for the 15th time when the pairings are announced Monday. In a 20-year coaching career that began at Northwestern State in 1990, Wells is no stranger to success by owning five regular-season SEC or Southland Conference championships and eight SEC or Southland postseason titles. Wells is set to take the Crimson Tide to a regional for the 12th time in 15 seasons. Three of his Alabama teams have made it to the College World Series (1996, 1997, 1999).
A disappointing showing in the Southeastern Conference Tournament this past week didn’t keep the Ole Miss Rebels from hosting an NCAA regional tournament. Ole Miss (40-17) learned Sunday it made the NCAA Tournament by virtue of being selected as a regional tournament host. Ole Miss was chosen as a host despite going two and out at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
The Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament has been known to be one of the best college tournaments in the country. Sometimes the fans are put in tough situations to see it all. The SEC attempts to play four games per day the first, second and fourth rounds of the tournament and sometimes the final game lasts well into the next morning. Take Wednesday for example.
The West Point High School football team lost one of its offensive lineman of the future Thursday when Tyler Wallace passed away in his sleep. An autopsy report has yet to reveal the cause of death of the 15-year old Wallace, who would have been a sophomore on West Point’s football team this fall. “Everybody is doing as well as can be expected,” said West Point coach Chris Chambless. “We were shocked. The response from the community as far as helping and praying has been greatly appreciated.”
The University of Alabama’s Kent Matthes wants to win a national championship. If honors and statistics come his way in the process, that’s fine, but he has bigger plans. That is why it was hard for the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year to accept what happened to the Crimson Tide at the SEC tournament at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. Matthes set the school’s single-season record for home runs in a season (28) with a blast to center field Wednesday night in a 9-5 lost to South Carolina.
University of Georgia baseball coach David Perno can appreciate a good catcher. After playing the position at Georgia from 1989-91 before becoming a coach, Perno understands what it takes to be a catcher. He calls the skills he sees in University of Mississippi senior Kyle Henson “tremendous.”
Steve Hancock hopes the building process will continue this summer. In his first season as baseball coach at Heritage Academy, Hancock guided the Patriots to a trip to the Mississippi Private School Association AAA playoffs and a 10-16 finish. Although Heritage Academy lost to Hillcrest Christian in the first round, Hancock was pleased the program raised its competitiveness and its confidence.
Cloyd Garth said he hasn’t officially submitted his application, but that he would like to remain the Aberdeen High School girls basketball coach. Aberdeen High School Athletic Director Hansel Gunn said earlier this week that the opening for the girls basketball job hasn’t been posted. He said he expects it to be listed in the next few weeks. Still, word of the opening has been circulating on the Internet and through the high school coaching ranks.
Two more New Hope High School baseball players will have opportunities to play that sport in college. Third baseman T.J. Upton and left fielder Josh Ferguson performed well enough Tuesday at a tryout at East Mississippi Community College that coach Tony Montgomery has invited them to join the program Ferguson, who already has signed a football scholarship to attend EMCC, will try to work with the team at least twice a week in the fall to keep his baseball skills sharp.
Johnathan McKenzie received more than a diploma Friday when he graduated from Starkville Academy. In a special presentation at graduation, McKenzie was honored with the Don Souder Award for being the outstanding male student-athlete in the Mississippi Private School Association.
Progress won’t be measured for real until at least three months — and for some teams it will be even longer than that. But Chris Duncan, Bubba Davis, and M.C. Miller all came away impressed Saturday with the performances of their football teams in their spring finales.
1. Player of Week: Davis, Starkville off to fast start HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Bulldogs turn attention to UAB COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Heritage Academy looks to build on first win HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS