Murphy takes reins again at Hinds C.C.

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 18, 2008

The most successful coach in the history of the Hinds Community College football program is stepping back into the ring.

Dr. Gene Murphy, the school’s current athletic director, will also now be the school’s new football coach. Murphy replaces J. Mike Smith, who stepped down earlier this month, after six seasons.

“When you’ve been part of a football program for 16 years, you develop a great love for it, and now, I want to try and move this program forward again,” Murphy said by phone Thursday morning.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Murphy inherits an Eagle program that finished 1-8 in 2008. Hinds won three games on the field, but lost two of them because of forfeiture after an ineligible player was used in two of the victories. In six seasons, Smith compiled a 30-26 record, but was just 12-22 in his last four years.

In 16 years at the helm, Murphy guided Hinds to eight Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College state titles and six bowl games. He was 129-42-5 in that span, including seven years with at least 10 or more wins.

Securing big-time Division I talent was Murphy’s strength.

“I’ve always wanted to provide young men an opportunity to develop their skills, but also to share life skills with them, because football is not always going to be there. In 30 years in this business, that has been my No. 1 objective.

“That’s the key to recruiting. The bottom line is that you have to sell the program and what you’re all about,” Murphy said.

Looking at a list of former Murphy recruits who played for him during his time at Hinds, reads like an NFL roster. Hinds alums who played in the NFL included: John Copeland, Cincinati Bengals; Leon Lett, Dallas; Zack Crockett, Oakland; Lee Ragsdale, Washington; Grady Jackson, New Orleans; Michael Myers, Dallas; Fred Smoot, Minnesota; Jerome McDougle, Philadelphia; and Brad Banks, who finished as the Heisman Trophy runner-up at the University of Iowa in 2002.

“Offensively, it’s all about getting the the ball in the hands of great players, like a Kevin Prentiss, who we got out of Warren Central,” Murphy said of the Hinds receiver, who went on to star on Mississippi State’s 1998 SEC title game team.

“We had guys like Brad Banks and T.T. Tolliver at quarterback. And on defense, they always talk about the teams Bobby Franklin had at Northwest, but we were right up there with him with guys like John Copeland and Michael Myers,” Murphy said. Copeland and Myers, both defensive tackles, went on to Alabama.


Contact Jeff Byrd at