POPLARVILLE – Steve Nagy looks back to his transformation from a skinny high school football player at Petal to his selection as a junior college All-American at Pearl River Community College and laughs about it now. As a senior at Petal High in 1975, he stood 6-foot-2, weighed 167 pounds and was nicknamed the stork. Two seasons later, as a sophomore defensive end at PRCC, he weighed 220 pounds, made the JuCo All-State team and JC All-American second team while leading the 1976 Wildcats to the state championship. Those two years at Pearl River were the two best years of my life, said Nagy, 53. I worked under some very good coaches. Nagy accomplishments on the football field have earned him a place in the college''s Sports Hall of Fame. He will be inducted Saturday, Oct. 15, during 2011 Homecoming festivities. Obtaining a football scholarship was not an easy task for Nagy, as he explains. I came to Pearl River to try out and J.C. Arban was the coach. Coach Arban liked the way I was aggressive, but he was worried about my weight, said Nagy. My high school coach (Mike Walters) told me about eating peanut butter, eggs, honey and this weight-gain supplement. I would take that stuff every night before I went to bed, and I was doing a lot of squats. Meanwhile, I waited for a scholarship letter from (Arban). Three or four of my friends had already signed with PRC. I was the last one to get a letter. When I got that letter, it was the greatest day of my life. When camp arrived, Nagy showed up weighing 215 pounds, shocking Arban and his staff. He told me, boy, you look like you could go bear hunting with a switch. One day in practice, I hit our quarterback pretty good and he ran over to me, grabbed my facemask and said, boy, you hit my quarterback again and I will run your tail back to Petal. He was serious. He was also a good coach, like all our coaches on that team. Nagy position coach was Harvey Seligman and the line coach was David Earl Johnson. They did a super job with us, said Nagy. Everybody put forth 100 percent on the practice field and it carried over to the games. Defensively, we swarmed to the ball. The Wildcats won the state title 17-7 over Northwest, a team the Wildcats lost to in the first game of the season. Nagy signed with Delta State but an injured ankle ended his playing days. Since that time, he has worked as an assistant coach at Stone County, Sumrall and South Jones, was head coach at Sumrall, and joined Mississippi State coaching staff under Rockey Felker as a graduate assistant. Today, he teaches physical education at Moselle Elementary.NAME: Steve NagyHOMETOWN: PetalFAMILY: Wife, Theda; son, Blake, 27; twin daughters, Madison Marie and Makenzie Jo, 15.EDUCATION: Graduated from Petal High, 1975; graduated from PRCC, 1977; attended Delta State; graduated from William Carey, 1980; graduated Masters from Mississippi State, 1985.OCCUPATION: Teaches physical education, Moselle Elementary.
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