Gray elected to MPSCA’s inaugural Hall of Fame class

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2002

The Mississippi Private School Coaches’ Association will launchits inaugural Hall of Fame Class next week. Former BrookhavenAcademy coach and headmaster John Gray tops the list of fiveinductees.

The other honorees, scheduled for induction at an 11:30 a.m.Tuesday ceremony at the Jackson Hilton, are Charlie Wright ofGreenville Christian, Jan Sojourner of Jackson Academy, Don Souder,retired MPSA executive director; and the late Joe Shepard, formerlyan administrator at Leake Academy.

Gray, a Pelahatchie native, coached football, baseball andbasketball at BA. He won a Class A Boys State Basketball Tournamenttitle in 1981. He was headmaster at BA for 26 years. The school’sgymnasium was named in his honor last fall.

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A graduate of Hinds Community College and Mississippi College,Gray, 64, also had coaching stints Okolona, Beaumont, Puckett,Council McCluer and at Utica early in his career.

Gray enjoys bass fishing, playing golf and enjoying his threegrandsons. He and his wife, Marie, have two children who arefollowing their father’s footsteps.

Sons Barry and Ricky Gray are both in coaching and teaching.Barry won his third Class AA Girls Basketball State Tournamenttitle in February. Ricky has left Wilkinson County ChristianAcademy to join his father at ACCS with an elementary schoolposition and coach junior high basketball.

“I’m deeply honored to be in this first-ever group,” said theelder Gray. In April, he was named headmaster at Adams CountyChristian School in Natchez. “This is a great thing they (MPSCA)are doing.”

Sojourner has produced one of the best girls basketball programsin Mississippi. The Lady Raiders won the MPSA Overall Tournament inMarch.

The MPSA has realigned its athletic conference for the 2002-03seasons. Brookhaven Academy finds itself in a beefed-up District4-AA. The Cougars have district foes in Bowling Green, Centreville,Columbia Academy, Oak Forest, Silliman Institute and PresbyterianChristian School of Hattiesburg.

For openers, Coach Ray Ishee’s Cougars will visit powerfulSimpson County at Mendenhall on Aug. 23. That debut will bepreceded by an Aug. 16 jamboree date at Parklane.

Moving right along, the Cougars entertain Copiah Academy Aug.30, when most public schools kick off their campaigns. They visitCentreville Sept. 6 and host Silliman Sept. 13. They play atPrentiss Christian School Sept. 20 and play at Oak Forest in Amite,La. Sept. 27.

On Oct. 4, the Cougars host Columbia Academy. They welcomeChamberlain-Hunt for homecoming Oct. 11. After an open date, theyplay at Bowling Green Oct. 25. On Nov. 1, they host Riverfield(La.) in their regular season finale.

In his first year at the helm, Ishee coached the Cougars to an11-2 record and a berth in the AA state playoffs. That earned himThe Daily Leader’s Lincoln County Coach of the Year award. Isheeshared the coaching honor with Anthony Hart of Loyd Star and CarlCole of Bogue Chitto.

Times have changed. Hart was hired at Franklin County and Coleaccepted a coaching job in Gainesville, Ga., located 50 miles northof Atlanta.

There have been numerous coaching changes in Lincoln andsurrounding counties. Willie Brumfield is the new head footballcoach and Lane Young is the new head basketball coach at WestLincoln.

At Bogue Chitto, Garreth Sartin was hired to replace Cole at thehelm of Bobcat football. Adam Moak has taken over for Cole asbaseball coach.

At Loyd Star, Sidney Wheatley has replaced Hart as gridironboss. Wheatley plans to continue coaching the Hornet baseball teamwhich advanced to the second round of the state playoffs thisseason.

At Brookhaven, some wholesale changes are under way. TuckerPeavey is the new head football coach and athletic director,replacing Andrew Hickman whose contract was not renewed. RonaldHines is the new boys basketball coach at BHS and Billy Holmes isdirecting the girls basketball program.

At Wesson, baseball coach Jerry Brewer has gone to McComb as anassistant. Girls basketball/softball coach Scott Johnson has takena position at Topeka-Tilton junior high in Lawrence County. Thosetwo vacancies will be officially filled later this month.

At Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Lauren Collins has beenhired to coach quarterbacks and running backs on Dave Cross’ staff.Collins spent last season at BHS. He replaces David Armstrong whotook a coaching position with Samford (Ala.) University.