MCC Tabs James Green New Basketball Coach

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James Green, a veteran of over 30 years of coaching experience including stints as the head coach of three NCAA Division I programs, has been named the new men’s basketball coach at Meridian Community College, according to MCC President Dr. Scott Elliott.
Green is replacing Cedric Drake, who has resigned his position at MCC to return to the high school coaching ranks in Alabama. Drake had a four-year tenure as Eagle coach.
“We appreciate all of Cedric’s contributions to the basketball program at MCC,” Elliott said, “but, at the same time, we are also elated to have attracted a coach of James Green’s impeccable credentials to our college. In fact, we’ve never had a coach with James’ breadth of experience in the program’s history, so we’re naturally excited about our prospects for success.”
Green served as head coach at the University of Southern Mississippi from 1996-2004, leading the Golden Eagles to the NIT Tournament twice and winning the Conference USA regular season title in 2001, when he was also named conference “Coach of the Year.” He went on to lead the Mississippi Valley State University program in 2005-2008, making the NCAA Tournament in 2008 while also winning the SWAC Tournament championship and yet another “Coach of the Year” award. From Valley, Green took the reins of the Jacksonville State University program from 2008-16, recording several firsts in the program’s history including wins over two Final Four teams.
In accepting the MCC helm, Green said he is “honored that Dr. Elliott and Sander Atkinson (Meridian athletic director) have provided me with this opportunity to be a part of the MCC family” and that he is “looking forward to coaching in one of the nation’s premier junior college conferences.”
“I feel like this completes my coaching career,” Green said, “in that I have already coached on the high school and major college levels. Now, I’m getting this great opportunity on the junior college level, and I am very much looking forward to the challenge. Obviously, I am well familiar with the MACJC Conference. I have recruited several players from the MACJC over the years and I believe I know the caliber of talent you’ve got to have to be competitive in the league. My expectation is that we will build a consistently competitive program at Meridian. I’ve been fortunate to accomplish that wherever I’ve coached, and there’s no reason we can’t do the same at MCC. It’s a fine college with an outstanding academic reputation, and it’s traditionally done well in athletics, too. My goal will be for our players to achieve both in the classroom and on the court and be positive ambassadors for the college in the community.”
Green’s path on the hardwood began as a standout player for Ingomar High School in New Albany, MS. From Ingomar, he signed with Ole Miss, helping the Rebels in the early 1980s win the SEC Tournament title and qualify for a national tournament appearance every year of his eligibility – three in the NIT and one in the NCAA.
His coaching career began at Jim Hill High School in Jackson in 1984, where he was named Metro “Coach of the Year.” He transitioned to the college ranks in 1988 as assistant coach at the University of Idaho, helping to twice lead the team to the NCAA Tournament and Big Sky Conference titles. His career continued to skyrocket as a major college assistant at Texas A&M, Alabama and Iowa State before Green landed the head job at Southern Miss. At Southern, Green posted 123 victories in an 8-year run.
“MCC has accomplished some good things in basketball over the years,” Elliott said. “We’ve won a Region 23 title and finished as high as 5th in the nation. We’ve had a couple of coaches who have achieved some very worthy career goals. Dennis Helms is now a member of the NJCAA Hall of Fame, and George Brooks has enjoyed a terrific run as a top assistant at Mississippi State. All that said, we’re still looking for our first MACJC state championship, and we feel that James Green is the guy who can get us there. His track record is replete with championships and national tournament appearances. We’re really excited to have him aboard.”
Green said his immediate focus will be to fill a couple or three important roster spots for the Eagles as well as working with Assistant Coach Jordan Payne to follow-up with all of the Eagles’ recruits and returnees for the 2016-17 season.
“I feel fortunate to have Jordan working with me,” Green said. “He is obviously familiar with the program as a former MCC player and assistant coach. Jordan gives us continuity in the program, and that’s important. I’m coming in late, so I’m not going to promise the moon right away. But I am going to pledge that we’re going to start building toward a strong program from Day 1.”