Fields passes up hall of fame ceremony for true passion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 18, 2007

Hinds AHS football coach Michael Fields will be inducted into the Hinds Community College Athletic Hall of Fame tonight, but he won’t be there to bask in the honor.

Instead, he will be riding a yellow dog to Wesson to coach the War Dawgs against Wesson High at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

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He could have left his team in the hands of capable assistant coach Keith Williams, but instead chose to be with his team. The kids, he said, are much more important to him than any personal honors — including a hall of fame induction.

“This is not about me,” Fields said. “This is about the kids and I thought it would be best for me to coach the team.”

Fields’ charges are in the midst of a down year. Numbers are low and experienced players are few. It has been a challenging season to say the least, especially when considering that the War Dawgs — winless when Fields took over six years ago — are consistently in the state playoffs.

He does it the right way, with discipline and a no-nonsense attitude. One step on the Hinds AHS football field and it is quickly apparent that there will be no shenanigans from his players. They come onto the field, single file and in number order. Players don’t talk back, don’t argue with officials and answer every question with “yes sir” or “no sir.” If a player shows up his teammates or coaches, he’s gone.

It’s how Fields was brought up and how he wants to mold the young people he interacts with.

Fields has spent the greater part of his life coaching kids in Hinds County. He has been the Hinds AHS coach for six years and coached at Raymond before that. Before Raymond, he did a stint at the old Utica High, a time he still cherishes.

It was after high school where he made his athletic mark at Hinds, playing football and running track in 1982 and 1983. The Eagles’ football team in 1983 advanced to the junior college playoffs and reached a No. 4 national ranking.

On the track, he excelled in the long jump, sprints and triple jump. He captured the state and region triple-jump championship and his play as a wide receiver earned him a spot at Mississippi College, a school that produced professional football player Fred McAfee, who arrived as Fields was leaving school.

A stint with the Montreal Allouettes of the Canadian Football League followed, but it only lasted a year and he came back to Mississippi to begin his coaching career.

“Things really didn’t go as planned in Canada,” Fields said. “So I came back and started coaching.”

Had Fields caught on in Canada, he may have enjoyed a lengthy professional football career.

Luckily for those who know him, Mississippi called him home.


Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at