Booneville, Miss. – Ricky Ford established the Northeast Mississippi Community College women’s basketball team as a consistent championship contender across four decades in the City of Hospitality.
First-year Lady Tigers head coach Brenda Mayes wants the several hundred players that took the floor for Ford to reunite and remain a part of what is still one of the most tradition-rich programs in the Magnolia State.
Mayes has started a group entitled Lady Tigers for Life that is for all of Northeast’s past athletes and managers. She also has an inaugural reunion planned on Thursday, January 21 for all those that starred under Ford.
“When I accepted the position here I wanted to do something to give back to the school, but also give back to the person that started my college career,” said Mayes, who was part of Ford’s inaugural recruiting class in 1981. “He doesn’t want this to be about him, but my philosophy on that is there is no us without him.”
A meet and great session is slated for 4 p.m. inside Bonner Arnold Coliseum. Guests will tour the upgrades to one of the most historic gymnasiums in the entire country, which includes a new lounge area for the Lady Tigers and a hospitality room that is named after beloved Northeast Sports Hall of Fame inductee Earline “Woodsie” Woods.
All former Lady Tigers that are in attendance will also be recognized between games during Northeast’s Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division doubleheader against visiting Coahoma Community College.
“It’ll give them an opportunity to connect back with their class,” Mayes said. “That’s what we’re hoping to do. We’re trying to get as many of (Ford’s) players as possible to be here. We’re really excited about it.”
Ford, who now serves as the tenth president of this institution, instructed the Lady Tigers for 30 seasons. He is the ninth winningest women’s hoops coach in the history of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) with 588 total victories at Northeast.
He guided the Lady Tigers to 28 championships at the state, regional and national levels during his phenomenal tenure. His 1986-87 squad went undefeated on the way to claiming the NJCAA national title over St. Gregory’s (Okla.) College.
Ford led Northeast to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament for an unprecedented 25 consecutive years from 1983 until 2007. He mentored 10 athletes that became immortalized as NJCAA All-Americans.
The Lady Tigers captured six straight state championships with Ford as their commander from 1985-90, which is the most dominant stretch in this sport by any affiliate of the MACJC.
Ford retired from coaching with an overall record of 676-253 including his time at Booneville High School. His winning percentage stands of 72.7 with only five losing campaigns at Northeast.
He was enshrined into the prestigious NJCAA Hall of Fame this past year. Ford is also a member of the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame alongside six of his most outstanding student-athletes.
For more information about Lady Tigers for Life, contact Mayes at 662-720-7887 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or assistant coach Kunshinge Sorrell-Howard at 662-720-7159 or by email at email@example.com.