Jones era enters second season for Pearl River Community Colllege football with aspirations of dramatic improvement over last year’s 4-5 campaign.
Jones says the hard-work ethic of his returning players and talented recruiting class of freshman is a huge plus.
“If that’s any indication, we’ll definitely be an improved team,” he says. “I can’t say enough about how dedicated our guys have been during our spring drills and summer workouts.”
The Hot Springs, Ark., native was hired on the coattail of the resignation of 11-year mentor Tim Hatten, Jones’ former boss, following the 2012 season and he saw a return to Poplarville after a highly-successful five-year hiatus to East Mississippi CC as defensive coordinator.
He previously served as The River’s DC for six seasons under Hatten (2002-2007) and one under Scott Maxfield (2001) before moving on to the Scooba- based school along with former Wildcat assistant Buddy Stephens, who was hired as EMCC’s head coach in the spring of 2008. Jones also served as the East Miss program’s associate head coach.
In addition to also serving as the Lions’ linebackers coach, Jones assisted EMCC Vice President/Director of Athletics Mickey Stokes with administrative duties as the school’s assistant athletic director.
On the sidelines, Jones played an integral role in helping guide the EMCC Lions to a five-year composite record of 44-10 (.815), including a first-ever NJCAA National Championship in 2011, a pair of MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 titles and four MACJC North Division regular-season crowns. East Miss duplicated 2011’s feat last season with state and national titles.
Jones has helped mentor eight EMCC All-Americans, including Southeastern Conference defensive line standouts Denico Autry of Mississippi State and Alabama’s Quinton Dial. In addition, the Lions sent an average of 20 players per year to four-year universities and colleges over the past four seasons.
A 20-year veteran of the collegiate coaching ranks, Jones’ 12-year association with Stephens began during their successful seven-year stint as assistant coaches at PRCC. During the duo’s River stint, the Wildcats posted a composite record of 60-12 (.833), including winning four straight MACJC state championships (2003 through 2006) and an NJCAA national championship in 2004. The River also played for a second NJCAA title in 2006.
The Wildcats consistently ranked among the national team defensive leaders during Jones’ tenure, 10 Wildcat players collected NJCAA All-American accolades during his seven-year stay at the school, including 2003 NJCAA Male Athlete of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and two-way (offense and defense) All-American Larry Kendrick. who went on to play for the Ole Miss Rebels. Among the more than 120 Wildcat players who advanced to the senior college level under Jones’ supervision included Larry Brackins, a former fifth-round NFL pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, former Carolina Panther and Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Kion Wilson, who just recently signed on with the San Francisco 49ers, and former Oakland Raiders defensive back Hiram Eugene.
Before switching to the community college 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 new head coach Maxfield Pearl River CC.
Jones cut his teeth in collegiate coaching with the Grambling State University Tigers, where he served as a defensive assistant coach under the guidance of the late legendary Hall of Fame head 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. Jones has visited the training camps of several NFL teams through the years, and has also worked many mini-camps and NFL Scouting Combines.
Upon earning his bachelor of science 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 is a popular guest speaker at coaching clinics throughout the country and has been selected to coach during numerous all-star contests. In addition, he has had articles published in American Football Monthly.
SECOND-YEAR HEAD COACH WILLIAM Jones sees a slightly revamped and streamlined assistant coaching staff for the 2014 season.
Headlining the group are offensive coordinator Scott Anderson, defensive coordinator Willie Mack Garza, and wide receivers coach and director of football operations Derrick Crudup, who return for encore seasons. The trio is joined by newcomers Travis Johnson, defensive line coach, Keeath Magee, offensive line coach and associate head coach, and Frank Walker, Jr., offensive analyst.
“We had some (assistant coaches) to go on to seek greener pastures, but I feel like we did extremely well in acquiring a very solid and knowledgeable group of replacements that will be huge assets in our effort to put Pearl River football back on top,” said Jones. “We’re talking about years of experience on both the Division I and professional levels that’s on board and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Jones, who served as PRCC’s defensive coordinator for seven seasons under former head coaches Scott Maxfield (2001) and Tim Hatten (2002-2012), will also coach the Wildcat linebackers.
Here, in capsule form, are brief biographicals of each:
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR / QUARTER BACKS
Scott Anderson enters his second season as the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator and boasts an impressive coaching resume ranging from the Division I collegiate level to high school.
Anderson arrived on The River campus a year ago following a one-year stint as quarterbacks coach at Independence Community College in Independence, Kan., in the touted Jayhawk Conference. His superior at ICC was offensive coordinator Matt Lott, a former Wildcat All-American offensive lineman (2003-2004) who was a member of the 2003 and 2004 MACJC championship squads, including the 2004 NJCAA nation title group (he went on to a stellar Division I career at Baylor (Tex.) University.
Anderson and new head coach William Jones have a relationship that dates back to the mid-1990s when both served as assistants at Kentucky State University (Frankfort, Ky.) where Anderson served as OC and QB coach.
A native of Byfield, Mass., Anderson is a graduate of nearby Governor Dummer Academy ---the oldest boys’ boarding school in the United States --- where he played football for his late head coach-athletic director father, Robert, who retired from the coaching ranks following Anderson’s sophomore year but remained on board as AD.
From there, he headed to Georgia Tech to pursue a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and graduated in 1982. He was a walkon member of the Yellowjackets’ 1978 football squad and also served as president of Sigma Gamma Tau, the school’s aerospace engineering honor society.
Anderson went on to earn his M.Ed. in kinesiology at the University of Texas (Austin, Tex.) in 1989 where he graduated with a 4.0 gradepoint average. During his UT stint, he interned with the Texas High School Coaches Association. In addition, Anderson took course work at Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, Ala.) to complete work for his teacher certification in 2005 and 2006.
Anderson’s coaching career began at alma mater Georgia Tech where he served as a defensive student assistant from 1979 until 1981 and as a part-time defensive assistant in 1982.
From there, he migrated to the West Coast where he was a defensive graduate assistant at the University of Southern California in 1983 before entering the full-time ranks as outside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, Ill.) from 1984 until 1985. At SIU, Anderson honed his fund-raising skills as he spearheaded a drive and raised over $10,000 for the Saluki program. After spending 1986 as head football coach and math instructor at Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami, Fla., he served as an offensive graduate assistant at the University of Texas from 1987 until 1988 where he earned his master’s degree. Anderson spent the 1989 season as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at West Texas University (Canyon, Tex.) where he also taught P.E. activity classes before heading to Duke University (Durham, NC) as running backs coach from 1990 until 1993. While with the Blue Devils, Anderson coaches three 1,000-yard rushers and headed the punt team in 1991, which improved from last in the Atlantic Coast Conference to No. 3 in net punting that season.
Anderson entered the NJCAA ranks in 1994 when he was hired as head coach at Navarro College (Corsicana, Tex.) where the Bulldogs led the Texas Junior College Football Conference in passing, finishing No. 7 nationally.
A year later, he arrived at Kentucky State where he served with Jones from 1995 until 2000.
During his stint with the Thorobreds, KSU won 33 games in six seasons --- more than the previous 15 seasons combined --- including two winning seasons (first since 1979), as well as the school’s first bowl victory in 42 years in the 1997 Pioneer Bowl.
The Thorobreds’ offensive output skyrocketed with his arrival, increasing 206 percent in total offense and 325 percent in scoring offense from the previous season. In 1998 and 1999, KSU led the SIAC (Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) in total offense. Anderson boasted four 1,000-yard rushers and saw his quarterbacks lead the league in passing for three of his six seasons in Frankfort. In addition, he headed the punt team in 1999 and reduced blocked kicks from seven in 1998 to one in 1999.
From 2001 until 2003, Anderson served as OC and QB coach at Indiana State (Terre Haute, Ind.) where he saw the Sycamores’ passing offense increase 175 percent, their scoring offense 38 percent, and total offense 14 percent in his first season. During his ISU stint, he was an instructor at the Purdue Elite Quarterback School during the summers of 2002 and 2003.
Anderson opted to return to the high school ranks in 2004, taking over the head coaching post at Columbia High program in Lake City, Fla. From there, he head to East Gadsden High in Havana, Fla., where he was head coach and a math and P.E. instructor from 2006 until 2009.
During his EGHS tenure, 13 of his players signed with four-year colleges, including the school’s first Southeastern Conference signee. In addition, four of his players inked scholarship in the junior college ranks. In the four seasons prior to his arrival, East Gadsden had only one Division 1AA signee and one at the Juco level.
Anderson headed to Cairo, Ga. in 2010 where he served as defensive ends coach at Cairo High before being hired as head coach at Escambia High in Pensacola, Fla., in 2010 2011.
EHS’s program sported a 7-7 overall mark during his tenure, but the school’s 5-5 mark in 2010 was the first non-losing season in the past five years. That year, EHS was predicted to go winless. Anderson was also a math and P.E. instructor during his prep stints.
WILLIE MACK GARZA
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR / SECONDARY
FIRST-YEAR PEARL RIVER DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR
SECOND-YEAR PEARL RIVER DEFENSIVE coordinator Willie Mack Garza arrived in Poplarville the spring of 2013 with an impressive resume that boasted over 15 years of coaching experience on the NCAA Division I level.
A native of Refugio, Tex., Garza is a member of the Texas High School Hall of Fame after his stellar prep career at Refugio High School where he earned Parade All-American, All-State, and All-Decade (1980-1990) honors on the gridiron. In his senior season in 1988, Garza rushed for an amazing 2,954 yards and scored a then-national record 56 touchdowns (336 total points).
RHS played for the Texas state championship his senior year and won its district three of the four seasons Garza played.
In addition to football, Garza was also a track and field standout at Refugio, running the 100, 200, and 4-by-100 meters, as well as one of the state top longjumpers. RHS won the Texas state title his junior year.
Garza was inducted into the prestigious Texas prep Hall in 2001.
From Refugio, he signed on with the University of Texas under then-head coach David McWilliams and was a four-year starter at defensive back for the Longhorns. Garza was also a punt and kick returner as a freshman, but his special teams play was limited his last three seasons due to a knee injury.
In his first season in Austin, Garza was named a freshman All-American, as well as the now-defunct Southwest Conference’s ‘Defensive Newcomer of the Year.’ He also earned All-Southwest Conference honors.
John Mackovich succeeded McWilliams for Garza’s senior season and led the Longhorns to the SWC championship, the last year of the conference existence (the SWC dissolved and UT joined the Big 12 Conference). Mackovich went on to win the Big 12 title his second season at the Texas helm.
As a senior, Garza suffered a broken leg and ruptured tendons in his ankle in the Longhorn’s last game against Texas A&M, which KO’d his status in the 1994 NFL draft. Even though he managed tryouts with various professional teams, his ankle problems ended his playing career.
After graduating in 1993 with a bachelor of science degree in social work, Garza served as a graduate assistant coach under Mackovich while attending graduate school majoring in administration and planning.
In 1997, he was hired as Western Michigan’s defensive backs coach under then-head coach Gary Darnell, who had previously served at Texas’ defensive coordinator and had assistant stints at Notre Dame and Florida. Four seasons later, Garza headed to Texas Christian University as DB coach under Gary Patterson and served in that capacity until 2004 when he moved on to Tarleton State (Tex.) where he coached DBs for a season before heading to North Dakota State to assume the same responsibilities in 2005 before also taking on defensive coordinator duties from 2006-2007.
During his NDS stint, the then-Division II Bison’s recorded 10-1 seasons twice and defeated three Division I schools, including Minnesota, Central Michigan, and Ball State.
In 2009, Garza was hired by then-new University of Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin in his only season in Knoxville that saw the Volunteers finish 7-6 after falling to Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Garza worked closely with Kiffen’s defensive coordinator father, Monte, while at Tennessee. The Vols’ DBs gave up only four touchdown passes during Garza’s stint in 2009.
A year later, Kiffen, his father, former Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron (defensive line coach at UT), and Garza headed for the University of Southern California, which was under NCAA probationary sanctions at the time. Regardless, the Trojans finished 8-5 in 2010 and 10-2 in 2011.
ASSISTANT HEAD COACH / DEFENSIVE LINE
NEW WILDCAT DEFENSIVE LINE coach Travis Johnson boasts an impressive football pedigree that ranges from NCAA All-Americian defensive line status at Florida State to his being selected in the first-round of the 2005 National Football League draft.
The California native was a Parade, Prep Star, Football News, and USA-Today All-American following his outstanding high school career at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Cal., before signing with the former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles where he was freshman All-American in 2000 and earned NCAA All-American status in 2004. That prompted his first-round selection by the Houston Texans in the 2005 NFL Draft.
The son of Panamanian parents Edmund and Elenor Johnson, he Johnson attended Oak Park High as a freshman before transferring to Notre Dame where he set four defensive school records with 61 career sacks, 77 tackles for loss, 14 forced fumbles, and five blocked punts. His outstanding senior season (he recorded 104 total tackles, 32 TFLs, and 17 sacks) prompted the national attention from countless major universities, but Johnson opted for former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden’s Seminoles.
His first three seasons were so-so in Tallahassee, but he saw a breakout season as a senior and earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA All-American honors after starting 12 games and recording 50 tackles, 18 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, and 12 quarterback pressures.
Sports Illustrated’s projection of Johnson being a mid-first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft proved true, as he was the 16th selection overall by the Texans. Johnson was traded to the San Diego Chargers in 2009 where he ended his professional football career after the 2011 season due to injuries.
Prior to his retirement, Johnson formed Trenchmen U, a company that coaches and trains collegiate athletes with draft potential, and it still exists today. Trenchmen U boasts a resume of many outstanding draft picks, including 2013 draftees Bruce Irvin, a West Virginia standout (Seattle), Jarvis Jones, a Georgia standout (Pittsburgh), Kawann Short, a Purdue standout (Packers), and Jerrell Worthy, a Michigan State standout (Green Bay), and 2014 draftees Anthony Barr, a UCLA standout (Minnesota), Devon Kennard, a Southern Cal standout (New York Giants), Cassius Marsh, a UCLA standout (Seattle), Kalil Mack, a University of Buffalo standout (Oakland) to name a few.
He founded the Travis Johnson Foundation, which organized, facilitated, and executed plants that have fed over 1,000 families in the Houston, Tex., and San Diego area during Thanksgiving and Christmas. The foundation is also responsible for providing rehabilitation to children who have suffered strokes and other ailments and their families are unable to address their needs financially.
Johnson, who earned his bachelor of science degree in social science at Florida State in 2004, dabbled in the broadcasting field, hosting the ESPN Generation Gap which was aired over the ESPN Classic Network and a weekly CBS radio show. In addition, he has also worked for Fox Sports, ABC, and ComCast in other broadcast capacities.
Johnson and his wife, Zaire, are the parents of five children, Zoe, age nine, Taj, age eight, Travis II (Duece), age six, Alexis, five, and Justis, age two.
ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH / OFFENSIVE LINE
MOUNT OLIVE NATIVE Keeath Magee enters his first season as offensive line coach and associate head coach after spending nine years in the Texas prep ranks, including four stints in head coaching capacities.
A 1988 graduate of Mount Olive High School where he was a four-spot standout athlete in football, basketball, track, and baseball, Magee signed with Alcorn State University upon graduation. After a season in Lorman, he went on to earn his bachelor of science degree in political science at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1996 and his master of education degree from the University of Texas at Tyler in 2011 while serving as head coach and an NCAA Clearinghour Academic Counselor at North Crowley High in Fort Worth, Tex.
He entered the Texas prep coaching ranks in 2005 where he served as co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach at John Tyler High in Tyler for three seasons before getting his first head coaching job at Westbury High in Houston where he worked from 2007 through 2009 and sported a 12-8 overall record.
While at Westbury, his team boasted the second-ranked offense in District 20-5A in 2007, averaging 340 yards per game, while Magee’s unit bested the district (changed to District 21-4A) on both sides of the ball (418.6 yards per game offense, 220.4 yards per game defense).
After a losing 4-6 mark in 2007, Westbury jumped to an 8-2 record in 2008 and went undefeated in district play to claim the district co-championship.
Magee moved on to Willowridge High in Houston as head coach for the 2009 season and again led the district (District 23-5A) in offense with a 393.3 per game yardage average and a second-best defensive mark of 256.3 yards per game, winning the district Zone B championship with an unblemished record.
From Willowridge, Magee moved to North Crowley High in Fort Worth, Tex., and spent the 2010 through 2012 seasons as head coach. While going a lackluster 8-22 over the three years, his until put up impressive offensive numbers in 2011 in District 4-5A --- third-best passing completion average, third-best passing offense, fourth-best team rusher, and fourth best in total offense (340.7 yards per game). In addition, North Crowley set set the single game scoring record with 75 points and the single game total offense average with 648 yards.
Last season, Magee was head coach at Ozen High School in Beaumont, Tex., and saw the struggling program improve offensively with a 313.7 yards per game in District 20-4A, as well as leading the district in touchdown-to-interception ratio. District’s ‘Newcomer of the Year’ was quarterback Josh Boyd, who led the district in passing.
During his Texas prep stint, Magee was the recipient of the North Crowley Youth Association Leadership Award (2010), the Methodist Orthopedic Specialists Outstanding and Dedicated Service Award (2009), and the Southwest Steers Youth Association Award of Appreciation (2009), while serving as an assistant coach at the Auburn University Football Camp (Ala.) and the University of Utah Football Camp --- both in 2011.
Magee and his wife, Glendora, are the parents of four children, Keeath Jr., Kholoee Fran-Alise, Kamden Dave, and Kaleb Justice.
DIRECTOR OF FOOTBALL OPERATION
Former University of Miami Hurricane standout Derrick Crudup enters his second season at Pearl River as wide receivers coach and director of football operations and boasts an impressive football pedigree as a player and a coach.
The 32-year-old Deerfield Beach, Fla., native arrives at The River via C.F. Vigor High in Mobile, Ala., where he served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past year. He arrived at Deerfield Beach after spending a season as an offensive graduate assistant with the Southeastern Conference and NCAA national champion Alabama Crimson Tide under head coach Nick Saban.
A 2000 graduate of Deerfield Beach High, of five bowl teams while at Miami.
In 2000, the Hurricanes defeated Florida in the Sugar Bowl 37-20 before following the a BSC championship in the Rose Bowl with a 37-14 victory over Nebraska. In 2002, Miami fell to Ohio State 31-24 (overtime) in the BCS title bout (Fiesta Bowl), but answered with back-to-back bowl wins in 2003 (16-15 win over Florida State in the Orange Bowl) and 2004 (a 27-10 victory over Florida in the Peach Bowl).
Crudup’s first prep job was at Newton High in Covington, Ga., was wide receivers coach the 2007-2008 school year; before he moved on to Forest Park High in Atlanta, Ga., in 2008 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach until January, 2009.
Crudup entered the collegiate ranks in early 2009 with Stillman College, a Division II school in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he served as wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator through the end of the year. While at Stillman, his recruiting class was cited as the No. 1 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. From there, he landed in Tuscaloosa from January 2010 through May 2011 where he earned his master’s degree in Consumer Science.
During Crudup’s Alabama stint, the Crimson Tide won the 2012 BCS championship (Sugar Bowl) when it pounded SEC rival LSU 21-0. ’Bama sported a dominating 22-3 overall record during his two seasons in Tuscaloosa. In addition, he assisted in the development of the 2011 NFL Draft’s No. 6 overall selection wide receiver Julio Jones, as well as helping prepare the nation’s top defense by operating the offensive scout team. Alabama boasted the SEC’s second-best team in 2012 in total offense and topped all comers in rushing offense. The Crimson Tide was also the 2010 Capitol One Bowl champions, defeated Michigan State 49-7.
Crudup headed to C.F. Vigor in August 2012 before arriving at The River earlier this year.
He and his wife, Aprilel Lynn, are the parents of three children: Lisa-Marie, age seven; Lola, age four, and Taylor-Renea, age one-and-a-half.
FRANK WALKER, JR.
Frank Walker, Jr., is the newest member of the Pearl River coaching staff, serving as an offensive analyst and working with tight ends and running backs under offensive coordinator Scott Anderson.
A Pensacola, Fla., native, Walker arrived on campus after spending the past four seasons as an offensive assistant at Booker T. Washington High School in his hometown.
He is a 2007 graduate of Pensacola High where he was a standout three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. On the gridiron, he played tight end, playing at Woodham High from the 2003 through 2005 seasons for head coach Michael Smith before transferring to Pensacola High for his senior campaign under head coach Michael Bennett.
After graduation, Walker enrolled at the nearby University of West Florida (which had no athletic programs at the time, but sees its first football season this fall) for a year before transferring to the University of South Alabama in Mobile to become a member of the Jaguars’ inaugural football squad in 2008 as a tight end for head coach Joey Jones.
His collegiate playing career ended in the spring of 2009 when he suffered a knee injury, prompting his return to UWF where he earned his bachelor of science degree in history with a minor in education in the fall of 2011.
Walker began his coaching career during his senior year at West Florida at Booker T. Washington High in Pensacola where he was the junior varsity offensive coordinator in 2012 and head freshman team coach in 2013, as well as working with the offensive line, running backs, and wide receivers on the varsity level through last fall.
This past summer, he served an internship at Florida International University in Miami as a strength and conditioning assistant under coach Chad Smith. Ron Turner is the head coach at FIU.
Walker plans to continue his education on the graduate level, currently awaiting a graduate assistantship. He plans to major in secondary education.