Buddy Stephens Voted 2014 ACCFCA Coach of the Year

East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) Head Coach Buddy Stephens has been named the 2014 American Community College Football Coaches Association (ACCFCA) Coach of the Year. The award will be presented to Stephens at the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year Dinner on Tuesday, January 13, at the 2015 AFCA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

“It’s an extraordinarily humbling feeling for me to receive this award because this is something that is voted on by your peers,” Stephens said. “To me, it’s a coaching staff of the year award. I think I have the best coaching staff in the country and those guys do an outstanding job of getting our players ready each year. I really like to look at this as a coaching staff of the year award because it reflects all of the work they do and I’m very honored that my staff and I could receive this.”

Stephens recently completed his seventh season as head coach at EMCC by guiding the Lions to a 12-0 record and a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship in 2014. Stephens became the first football coach in the history of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) to secure three NJCAA championships. With the most recent national titles coming back-to-back, the EMCC Lions have also set a new NJCAA record by producing three national titles in a four-year span. The Lions have won 44 of their last 46 contests, including a current streak of 24 consecutive victories that comprises back-to-back undefeated campaigns as well as a previous 20-game win string during the 2011-12 seasons. 

Stephens is the first coach to receive ACCFCA honors twice, as he previously won the award in 2011. In addition, Stephens is a four-time NJCAA Region 23 Coach of the Year selection as tabbed by his coaching peers. He is also a two-time recipient of the Junior College National Coach of the Year as awarded by American Football Monthly magazine. 

In his seven seasons at EMCC, Stephens has an overall record of 68-10 and has guided the Lions to four MACJC State/NJCAA Region 23 championships in the past six years (2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014) in addition to having earned a sixth MACJC North Division regular-season crown. Before arriving at EMCC, Stephens was an assistant coach at Pearl River Community College for seven seasons, and spent eight years of his career at the high school level in Alabama and Louisiana.

Stephens was an offensive lineman for two years at Pearl River Community College, then finished up his playing career at Delta State University where he earned his degree in education. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Statesmen before moving on to the University of Louisiana-Monroe to complete his master’s degree in 1992.

About the ACCFCA: Community college football coaches are among the very best in the profession. In recent years, there have been two organizations, the California Community College Football Coaches Association and the National Junior College Football Coaches Association. Each organization had its own coach of the year. In 2000, the AFCA invited the organizations to meet at the AFCA Convention. Three national goals were set: to form a national community college football coaches’ association, to study the possibility of a national championship game between the two organizations and to elect, yearly, a national coach of the year and to have that coach recognized by the AFCA.

Their initial goal, to create an umbrella coaches association, has been accomplished. In 2002, the American Community College Football Coaches Association selected its first national coach of the year, Michael White of Reedley College.  Past winners of the ACCFCA Coach of the Year are: Troy Morrell, Butler Community College, 2003; Tim Hatten, Pearl River Community College, 2004; Don Dillon, American River College, 2005; John Featherstone, El Camino College, 2006; Jeff Chudy, Bakersfield College, 2007; Jeff Jordan, Butte College, 2008; Brad Franchione, Blinn College, 2009; Bob Jastrab, Mt. San Antonio College, 2010; Buddy Stephens, East Mississippi Community College, 2011; Scott Strohmeier, Iowa Western Community College, 2012; and Bert Williams, Georgia Military College, 2013.

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