Vicksburg’s Mims tapped as MAC president

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 5, 2002

[12/05/02]Johnny Mims is the first to admit that he knows more about selling insurance than coaching. That isn’t stopping the 44-year old Vicksburg native from taking the reins of the state’s largest coaching organization, however.

Mims, an ex-Ole Miss baseball player who also starred at Vicksburg High, was hired as the new executive director of the Mississippi Association of Coaches on Wednesday.

He’ll succeed Doug Fowler, 62, who has led the MAC since 1991 and is retiring in January. Mims begins his official duties, which involve overseeing the day-to-day operations of the MAC, on Jan. 1.

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“I’m excited. I’m looking forward to the challenge and doing a good job. I hope I can bring something to the table,” said Mims, who owns an insurance agency in Vicksburg. “I’m not looking to come in and do basically anything different. I’m just looking to take any positives (Fowler) has already done and take it from there … If I can do just half of what (Fowler) has done, I’ll be doing a good job.”

Among the items on Mims’ agenda are reviving the Mississippi-Alabama all-star basketball game and increasing some membership benefits for MAC coaches, he said.

The all-star game was discontinued this year. Because of the summer date of the game, many of the top players in both states were already enrolled in colleges and unable to attend.

Moving the game closer to the end of the high school season, or moving the location of the game are both possibilities in the effort to revive the game for 2004.

“I think we’re trying to work on changing the timing of it and bringing it back toward March,” Mims said. “We’re going to have to work with Alabama and try and get this thing going.”

Bringing in an outsider was an issue to some coaches, said Warren Central girls basketball coach Donny Fuller, the immediate past president of the MAC, but the organization’s executive committee felt it was time to head in a different direction.

“That was brought up in the interview with the directors. Some think there should be a coach. We felt, though, that coaches made up the board of directors,” Fuller said. “We run a business and when you think of all the money that comes through this office, with the all-star games and clinics and all, it’s a lot of money. I think Johnny will do a great job.”

Mims has no coaching experience, outside of youth sports, but has been involved in sports on various levels for much of his life. He said he won’t hesitate to call on Fowler for advice as he learns the ropes, and knows he has a lot to learn.

“Even though I’m not an ex-coach, I have to make them feel like I’m for them,” said Mims, also a longtime Vicksburg restaurateur. “They don’t need anybody to tell them how to coach. I’m hoping I can jump in there and do some things and increase benefits, and give more incentive to be a coach in Mississippi.”