JACKSON – Adding to his impressive collection of coaching hardware, East Mississippi Community College head football coach Buddy Stephens was presented with the 2011 George Sekul Award during the All-American Football Foundation’s Banquet of Champions held Thursday night at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
Named in honor of NJCAA Hall of Fame football coach George Sekul, who guided Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to a 26-year (1966-91) composite record of 204-77-5 with two national championships and eight state titles, the award annually recognizes Mississippi’s outstanding community college football coach.
In guiding the 2011 EMCC Lions to a school-first NJCAA National Championship and first-ever undefeated football season, Stephens previously collected national junior college coach of the year honors from the American Community College Football Coaches Association (ACCFCA) as well as by the American Football Monthly coaches’ publication. With the Lions claiming a second MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 football championship in three years and earning a third MACJC North Division title over a four-year span, Stephens was also touted as the 2011 NJCAA Region 23 Coach of the Year and MACJC North Division Coach of the Year by his coaching peers.
Stephens, a native of Huntsville, Ala., has compiled a 36-8 (.818) overall record and 22-2 (.917) MACJC North Division mark in four seasons since taking over the Lions’ head coaching duties in December 2007. Prior to being hired at EMCC, Stephens spent the previous seven seasons (2001-07) as an assistant coach at Pearl River Community College, where the Wildcats posted a composite record of 60-12 (.833), including an NJCAA National Championship in 2004 and four consecutive MACJC state titles.
Headed by Jimmie McDowell as president, the All-American Football Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1994 to honor selected individuals in all phases of the game of football. Other honorees recognized at Thursday’s AAFF banquet in Jackson included: H.A. Smith (Ole Miss & Southern Miss); Oscar Miskelly (Mississippi State); Dr. Dennis Phillips (Southern Miss); and W.C. Gorden (Jackson State), who were all honored with the Admiral Thomas Hamilton Award. In addition, John “Fat Tuesday” Thames (Ole Miss) was honored with the All-American Football Fan Award, while Billy Beard (Mississippi State) was the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Football Award and John “Kayo” Dottley (Ole Miss) earned the AAFF’s Special Recognition Award.