Dr. Sam Bounds, former BSD super, dies in Jackson hospital

Published 5:43 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

Dr. Sam Bounds, who served as superintendent of Brookhaven School District for a decade ending in 2004, died Thursday, June 16, at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson.

Visitation will be Monday, June 20, at Brookhaven Funeral Home from 5-7 p.m. The funeral will be held on Tuesday June 21, at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Brookhaven, with Brookhaven Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements.

Bounds also served as chair of the Mississippi ACT Council and as executive director of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents, as well as serving in its committees, until his retirement in 2017.

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Bounds began his higher education at Jones College (formerly called Jones County Junior College) in Ellisville in 1966 and started every game for head coach Sim Cooley in 1966-67, the school’s Hall of Fame website noted. He was a Junior College All-American, first-team all-state, team captain and the Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman in Mississippi in 1967. He was a member of the J Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Agriculture Club. He graduated in 1968 and was inducted in the school’s Hall of Fame in 2012.

Bounds then set out to the University of North Carolina, where he graduated in 1970. He was a team captain for the Tar Heels in 1969 and was a first-team offensive tackle in 1968-69. After graduation, he turned down two recruitments from Canadian Football League teams to begin his coaching career.

In 1973, Bounds, then 25, was named head coach of Grimsley High School in Greensboro, N.C., the third-largest high school in the state. Later he served as head football coach and athletic director at Raleigh High School, leading them to their first bowl game in 1976. He also established Little League baseball in Raleigh.

Bounds received his master’s degree from William Carey, then served as head football coach and athletic director at Monticello High School from 1978-80. He was Coach of the Year in the Southern Athletic Conference in 1979, Jackson Touchdown Club Award winner as head coach of the SAC champions in 1979 and served as school principal in 1979-80. He then became head coach and athletic director at Kosciusko High School from 1980-84.

He later served as principal at Clinton High School from 1986-94 and served on several committees with the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) from 1990-2008.

His final position was as executive director of the Mississippi Association of School Superintendents (MASS). Bounds oversaw an association representing all 148 public school superintendents and an alliance group made up of all other administrators in the state. Bounds has been a member of the association’s board of directors for seven years when he was elected executive director.

Bounds served as BSD superintendent for a decade, until 2004 when he took the position at MASS. By then, he had 34 years of service in public education, with 28 of those in Mississippi.

Although he admitted a great love for that BSD job, Bounds said at the time of leaving BSD that he could not pass up the opportunity to realize a longtime dream.

“It has been an honor to be superintendent here; it really has been,” he said in a story at the time by the Daily Leader. “I’m not leaving Brookhaven for any other reason than I’ve obtained a life-long goal.”

Those who worked with Bounds during his 10-year tenure in the BSD had many accolades for the educator. “The time that I’ve shared with him, I’ve certainly enjoyed,” said then-school board trustee Dan Brown Jr. “I think he was a great superintendent, and I think he brought a lot of improvement to the district.”

Another board member at the time, Carl Aycock, mentioned the vast improvement in the discipline of students since Bounds introduced a zero tolerance policy. “That is his biggest achievement,” said Aycock. “Our discipline problems have gone down significantly.”

Bounds said that “the 10 years I’ve spent in Brookhaven have been the most fulfilling. God has richly blessed me. He has been so gracious in His blessings, and He’s brought some wonderful things my way. He’s used me for whatever success, whatever good is out there.”

He called the district’s administrators “some of the finest in the state” and complimented the dedication of the school board. “I just cannot praise the board enough for being strong and sticking together to make decisions to set the directions of this district, and for basing those decisions on what is best for the students.

“The administrators, the teachers, the school board, the community, we’ve all worked together, and that’s the key to success.”