|Buddy Stephens - Head Football Coach|
Having guided the Lions of East Mississippi Community College to the pinnacle of the junior college football ranks as the 2011 champions of the National Junior College Athletic Association, head football coach Buddy Stephens begins his fifth season on the Scooba campus.
A year ago, Stephens’ talent-laden 2011 EMCC Lions ran the table on the gridiron, methodically marching through the powerful Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges unblemished for the second time in three years to capture their second MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 championship. In knocking off eight teams that were ranked among the NJCAA Top 20 during the course of the season, EMCC’s first-ever, 12-win season was capped by a 55-47 victory over then-top ranked Arizona Western in the El Toro Bowl for the 2011 NJCAA National Championship.
Rewarded for guiding the undefeated EMCC Lions to a school-first NJCAA football championship last season, Stephens was the recipient of the 2011 American Community College Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year award. He was also honored as the 2011 Junior College Coach of the Year by the American Football Monthly coaches’ publication. In addition, Stephens was selected as the NJCAA Region 23 Coach of the Year for the second time and was the recipient of the George Sekul Award from the All-American Football Foundation.
While helping to completely restore the winning mentality around the East Mississippi Community College campus, resulting in the construction of one of the finest football facilities among the nation’s junior college ranks, Stephens has compiled an impressive 36-8 overall record and 22-2 division mark since taking over the Lions’ head coaching duties. Along with winning games at an 82 percent rate dating back to 2008, Stephens’ nationally regarded EMCC football program continues to also steadily send quality student-athletes onto the next level. Including eight NJCAA All-Americans, the Lions have sent an average of 20 players per season to four-year universities and colleges over the past four years.
During his debut season at EMCC, Stephens put the Scooba-based school back on the map and restored respectability for the Lions’ gridiron program statewide and throughout the national junior college football circuit. He was tabbed by his coaching peers as the 2008 MACJC Coach of the Year after guiding the Lions to an 8‐2 record, including the first of two straight 6-0 MACJC North Division marks.
Along with successfully defending their MACJC North Division title and making a second straight appearance in the state playoffs the following year, the 2009 Lions claimed the program’s first‐ever state championship with a memorable 75‐71 shootout victory over perennial powerhouse Mississippi Gulf Coast. Having climbed to as high as No. 2 in the regular-season NJCAA rankings, EMCC capped an 11-1 campaign with a 27-24 Mississippi Bowl victory over Arizona Western to earn a No. 4 national ranking in the final 2009 poll.
On the heels of earning 2009 NJCAA Region 23 Coach of the Year honors, Stephens was instrumental in turning around EMCC’s early-season slide two years ago. Rebounding from an 0-3 start during the 2010 campaign, the Lions battled back to win five of their last six regular-season games and earn EMCC’s third straight state playoff appearance.
Stephens arrived on the Scooba campus in December 2007 after spending the previous seven seasons as an assistant coach at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Miss. During Stephens’ stint at PRCC, the Wildcats posted a seven‐year composite record of 60‐12 (.833), including an NJCAA championship in 2004 and four consecutive MACJC state titles. During that four‐year span (2003‐06), the Wildcats also earned four straight top five national finishes. After serving his initial campaign at Pearl River under Scott Maxfield, Stephens spent the next six seasons as Tim Hatten’s co‐offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
Before his Mississippi community college coaching career began in 2001, Stephens spent eight years at the high school level at four different schools in Alabama and Louisiana. His prep coaching days began at Sparkman High School in Toney, Ala. (1993‐95), followed by offensive coordinator stints at Hammond (1995‐96) and Plaquemine (1996‐98) in Louisiana.
Following his initial stop at Pearl River CC as a two‐year offensive lineman, Stephens continued his playing career at Delta State University. Upon earning his bachelor’s degree in education, Stephens began his 22‐year coaching career as a graduate assistant at DSU. Stephens received his first taste of full‐time coaching experience at Northeast Louisiana University, where he completed his master’s degree in 1992.
A native of Huntsville, Ala., Stephens is married to the former Robyn Lynn Douglas of Bogalusa, La. They have three daughters – Lauren Elizabeth, 17, Julianna Hope, 13, and Rebekah Leanne, 10.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 August 2012 )|