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Hinds to name hoops court after longtime coach, mentor

UTICA – Hinds Community College on Feb. 17 will name the basketball court inside J.D. Boyd Gymnasium on the Utica campus after former basketball coach Earl Joe Nelson.

A brief dedication ceremony will be held between the Hinds Bulldogs women’s and men’s games that evening against East Central Community College. The women tip-off at 5:30 p.m. Men tip-off at 7:30 p.m. The program will be at approximately 7 p.m.

Nelson coached the men’s basketball team at Hinds for 17 years, starting in 1977 when the campus was Utica Junior College. His time as coach included state championships in 1978-1979 and 1989-1990, the latter of which was the program’s first season playing home games on the Utica Campus. The Mississippi Junior College Athletics Association named him Coach of the Year for the 1989-1990 season.

His coaching career spanned 29 seasons in all, including his years at Hinds County Agricultural High School. He produced six junior college All-Americans, five of whom played professional basketball. In 1975, he was named national Alumni of the Year in sports by Jackson State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education. He later earned a master’s degree in Administration of Athletic Recreation from the University of Southern Mississippi. He died in June 2012.