Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7, 2012 - 8:03am

William JonesPOPLARVILLE - A former Pearl River Community College assistant coach is coming back to lead the Wildcat football program.
       William Jones, 45, a native of Hot Springs, Ark. and assistant coach at PRCC from 2001-07, is the new head football coach at Pearl River Community College, pending approval by the PRCC Board of Trustees at its Dec. 13 meeting.
       “We feel very fortunate to be able to recommend Coach William Jones as the next head football coach at Pearl River Community College,” said PRCC President William Lewis.
       “Coach Jones is passionate about his profession and has a deep sense of commitment to the success of his players on and off the field. He has a proven track record of success on the field, but he also has the same record of success with developing his players for success after football. Coach Jones is a great fit for our program. “
       Jones comes to PRCC from East Mississippi Community College, where he has served as associate head coach and defensive coordinator under head coach Buddy Stephens. He also served as assistant athletic director.
       He helped guide East Mississippi to a five-year record of 44-10, including the school’s first NJCAA national championship, two MACJC state championships and four MACJC North Division regular-season crowns.
       “This is the biggest moment in my professional career, being named head coach at Pearl River Community College,” said Jones. “I am very excited about the opportunity to lead a program that has won a national championship and you have the ability to win a national championship here.
       “There is work to be done in terms of hiring coaches, evaluating current personnel, looking at the facilities and getting everything in place.”
       He replaces Coach Tim Hatten, who resigned his position as head football coach last month.
       After having spent 12 years as a defensive coordinator in the Mississippi junior college league, Jones knows he has his work cut out for him.
       “It always starts with having good people, a good administration, good community support, and good players,” said Jones. “You have to build those relationships that help you find those good players. It all starts with caliber of football player and the kind of person you want in this program. I have to set the bar for that.”
       Jones also knows that his first game as the PRCC head coach next season will be at home against East Mississippi.
       “There will be some excitement about that,” he said.
       At PRCC, Jones served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. During that time, the Wildcats posted a composite record of 60-12 (.833), including an NJCAA National Championship in 2004 and four consecutive MACJC state titles (2003-06).
       PRCC consistently ranked among the national team defensive leaders during Jones’ tenure, and 10 Wildcat players collected NJCAA All-American accolades during his seven-year stay at the school, including 2003 NJCAA Male Athlete of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Larry Kendrick.
       Upon earning his bachelor’s degree in life sciences (pre-veterinary medicine) from
Louisiana Tech University in 1990, Jones served as vice president of scouting operations and personnel development for the Sportstek Management Group in Shreveport, La. He later earned a master’s degree in higher education administration, with a concentration in sports administration, from the University of Louisville in 1999.
       Jones’ debut in collegiate coaching came at Grambling State University, where
he served as a defensive assistant coach under the guidance of legendary Hall of Fame coach Eddie Robinson. During his time at Grambling, the 1994 Tigers claimed the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship and played in the inaugural Heritage Bowl.While Jones has divided his football coaching career between the community college and NCAA Division II ranks, he also has extensive experience at the professional level.
       Before switching to the community college coaching ranks in 2001, Jones spent six seasons at the NCAA Division II level at Kentucky State University, where he served as co-defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator before getting the call from Pearl River.

December 7, 2012 - 8:27am

Katie BrelandThis is a story about one of our own alumni who has overcome many obstacles in her life.  Her name is Katie Breland and she is our Alumni Spotlight 2012!  She touched our hearts with her perseverance, dedication to make a difference, and strength to keep moving forward.  Her story is inspiring and we could all learn from her experiences. 

Written by Katie Breland:
You often wonder where you will be years down the road, when college is over, careers begin, and families are started.  Will you be successful? Will you be happy? What will become of your identity? Sometimes, life places before us a path that we never could have imagined.  And though it may be hard, we are to walk it.  Because that’s what we've been taught.  Its part of "growing up".
       After my high school graduation, I was set on the fact that I would continue on to play college basketball.  I knew I wanted to be a Physical Therapist and go to Southeastern Louisiana University.  It was the second day of college that I called my mom to come get me.  I thought I knew what I wanted but my heart told me different.  It was then, I decided PRCC would become my home.  I applied and was accepted to the Physical Therapist Asst. program. This began a new chapter of my life.  I made many life long memories, friends, and was given a stable, rewarding career.  
       It was 3 and a half years after I graduated that yet another new chapter was written for me. On October 13, 2011, I was in a terrible accident. I was hit broadside and then ejected from my car.  The car then landed on top of me and it was there that I was trapped for 33 minutes.  The engine was burning my back, my body was folded in half, and I knew that I couldn't feel my legs.  A million things raced through my mind. I knew, that even though the road ahead of me was going to be full of heartbreak, valleys, hard work, and change, that I had to make a choice right then; I could take in my last breath, give up, and let go, or I could fight, with every ounce of my being.  I chose to fight.  I chose to believe.
       The next several months was the toughest I have ever lived.  There were tons of surgeries, therapy, skin grafts, and adjustments.  My mind was my biggest battle.  I looked back at all the patients I had rehabed being a pta and now here I was on the other side.  I wondered every second if I would one day walk again, if i would be able to run in another race, shoot another basketball.  I wondered if I would have kids, start a family, and live a normal life.  I had to understand though, that all I could do was my part.  And my part was to give my everything to my recovery.  I knew that there would be days where things seemed impossible, but I knew that my trust in God was strong, and my community, friends and family were behind me 100 %. 
       It’s now been 10 months since my accident.  I have faced a lot of things that I never would have imagined I would face.  I’ve learned to appreciate the small things in life, to count my blessings before complaining about the small things, and to live every single minute to its fullest.  We never know from day to day what may happen, or whose life we may be affecting along the way.  People are watching us to see the stands we may make.  It’s your decision, your choice to make the right ones.  Make this short time we have here worth its while.  Leave a legacy that people will stand on.  I still believe that one day, I will walk again.  I just hope that my story will touch other people’s lives in a positive way that inspires them to keep believing in themselves.    

Recently friends and family of Katie held the Katie’s Kause 2nd Annual 5k Run to help support Katie and her costs that will occur when she goes to Michigan to work with a well known trainer who has experience dealing with spinal cord injuries.  If you would like to help out “Katie’s Kause”, contact Candace Harper at the PRCC Development Foundation at 601-403-1193.
Katie's Kause