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Smith named to head ECCC basketball team

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
Sept. 5, 2001
DECATUR East Central Community College didn't have to go very far up the road to find its new men's basketball coach former Neshoba Central girls' hoops coach Billy Smith.
Neshoba Central would have to go an even shorter distance to get Smith's replacement – his wife, Susan.
Smith, 40, succeeds Jay Bowen, who resigned in August to take an assistant coaching position at Austin Peay State University.
Smith has led the Neshoba Central Lady Rockets since 1985. During that 16-year span, the Neshoba girls were 391-149 with a Class 4A state championship in 1991. His 1990 team was the 4A state runner-up.
The state junior colleges will be able to sign more players from outside their district beginning in the 2002-2003 school year. While Smith's stint at Neshoba was with the girls, he said he had quite a few connections across the state that could pay off, if needed.
In making the announcement Tuesday afternoon, ECCC president Dr. Phil A. Sutphin said the college was very fortunate to hire someone who has had success on the high school level and is also a district coach.
Smith's Neshoba teams won six district titles and finished district runners-up on five occasions.
Prior to joining the Neshoba Central staff, Smith served as junior varsity boys' basketball coach and varsity basketball assistant at McKinney (Texas) High School during 1984-85. He is also a former graduate assistant at the University of Southern Mississippi (1983-84) and varsity men's basketball assistant and head freshman basketball and football coach at Philadelphia high and elementary schools (1982-83).
A graduate of Neshoba Central, Smith attended East Central Community College and received a bachelor's degree in physical education from Delta State University. He holds a master's degree in physical education from USM and has a master's degree in administration from Jackson State University.
Smith's wife, Susan, moves up from assistant girls' coach to head coach at Neshoba Central.
Billy Smith said he felt like the Lady Rocket program was in good hands.
Susan Smith has previously been an assistant women's basketball and tennis coach at Mississippi College.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar. com or call him at 693-1551, ext. 3234.