|EMCC Names Head Football Coach|
SCOOBA – East Mississippi Community College named a new head football coach Dec. 17 during a press conference at its Scooba campus – W.O. “Buddy” Stephens, currently assistant head coach/offensive coordinator at Pearl River Community College. “We wanted to make sure we found the right man to lead the football program, and I think we’ve been successful,” said EMCC President Dr. Rick Young.
“I had never met Buddy before, but I had a good feeling about him the minute he walked into the room. With his background and experience, his attitude, and his commitment to the game and to his players, I believe he is going to be able to make a big contribution to what we’re trying to accomplish here at EMCC.”
Stephens has been a part of a winning PRCC tradition since 2001. He helped lead the Wildcats to an NJCAA National Championship in 2004, and a No. 1 ranking in the final NJCAA poll, with a record of 12-0. The Wildcats also won four consecutive MACJC State Championships, in 2003 to 2006.
Hitting the ground running, Stephens is already recruiting, beginning a south-to-north swing this week through EMCC’s six-county district.
“Every coach in the state knows what kind of talent is in this district. This past year at Pearl River, we had three starters from Meridian and one from West Lauderdale,” Stephens said. “Two years ago, those same three starters from Meridian High School were on the state championship team.”
The players Stephens refers to are Lauderdale County stand-outs James Siefker, who graduated from West Lauderdale High School, and T.J. Harris, Jamie Hill and Phillip Sullivan of Meridian High School.
“That’s one of the reasons I knew I wanted this job when it came open, because there’s so much talent. As a coach, you’ve got to win over your district. If you can build a wall and not let people come in and carry your kids off, you can win ball games. If we can keep the talent here, we’re going to be very successful.”
Over Stephens’ seven-year tenure at PRCC, the Wildcats compiled a 60-12 record – the best winning percentage in 30 years. And, in that time, the Wildcat offense set or tied 21 school records.
“Working with Pearl River has been great, and I loved it,” Stephens said. “But I’m just like anybody else. I’m always looking for the next challenge.”
Stephens will be recruiting hard through early February, and said he is also looking forward to meeting returning EMCC players after the Christmas break.
“We need to pay attention to the players who are already on campus,” Stephens said. “It’s not football season right now, but that’s not all there is to it. We’re not going to forget about them. We need to help them out, make sure they’re getting what they need academically, and make sure they’re on track to graduate.”
Buying a new house and moving his family is also on Stephens’ to-do list. He and his wife, Robyn Lynn, spent part of the weekend acquainting themselves with the area. The couple have three children, 12-year-old Lauren Elizabeth, 8-year-old Julianna Hope and 5-year-old Rebekah Leanne.
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 August 2008 )|