A Picayune couple, a former Major League baseball player and a former high school football coach will receive special recognition at the 2013 Homecoming celebration scheduled Saturday, Oct. 12 at East Central Community College in Decatur.
Carolyn Cook Huey is this year’s Alumna of the Year and will share honors with her husband, Max Huey, selected Alumnus of the Year. Both are members of the ECCC Class of 1965 and reside in Picayune.
Louisville native Marcus Thames of Tampa, Fla. and Pete Lucovich of Carthage are this year’s Athletic Hall of Fame inductees.
Mrs. Huey is a retired school teacher, having taught at Petal and Picayune junior high schools.
She is also a dedicated civic and community leader and has received numerous honors in recognition of her efforts.
Mrs. Huey was named Picayune Civic Club Woman of the Year in January 1996 and was selected Mississippi Federation of Woman’s Clubs District I Club Woman of the Year in April that year. She was chosen Grand Marshall of the Picayune Christmas Parade in December 1996.
She served as president of the Mississippi Federation of Woman’s Clubs from 2008-10 and selected as her project the support of the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson. She helped raise more than $80,000 for the hospital’s Pediatric Cardiology Department. In 2006, she received the Jennie Award, the highest honor given to a state member for leadership.
Mrs. Huey and her husband are credited with leading community efforts to support the recently constructed Highland Community Hospital. They were also instrumental in establishing the hospital’s foundation board.
Mrs. Huey is a 1963 graduate of Decatur High School and attended ECCC in 1963-65. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1969 and earned a master’s degree in education from William Carey College in 1976. She has completed additional post-graduate studies at USM.
Mr. Huey is a retired CEO and Chairman of the Board at First National Bank in Picayune. He served in the banking profession for 41 years.
Mr. Huey recently completed a five-year term on the Mississippi Community College Board and is a former member of the Pearl River Community College Board of Trustees.
He is a past president of the Picayune Rotary Club and recipient of the R. H. Crosby President’s Cup and Rotarian of the Year honors.
In recognition of his service to the community, Mr. Huey was selected Picayune Citizen of the Year in 2009 by the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce.
Thames joins the ECCC Athletic Hall of Fame following a 15-year career in Major League Baseball, which included stints with the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Louisville native and former Diamond Warrior standout began his Major League career by belting a home run off Cy Young winner Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium in 2002. Ironically, his last at-bat at the old Yankee Stadium was a home run and his first hit at the new Yankee Stadium was a homer.
Thames later joined the Detroit Tigers’ organization and was a member of the 2006 squad which won the American League championship and advanced to the World Series.
Other highlights of his Major League career included an eight-game home run streak with the Detroit Tigers in 2008 and his walk-off homer against Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon while Thames was a New York Yankee.
Thames received NJCAA All-American, All-Region 23 and MACJC All-State honors while a member of the 1996 and 1997 Diamond Warriors, led by the late Jamie Clark. (Jersey numbers worn by Clark and Thames are retired and prominently displayed at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex.)
As a freshman in 1996, Thames batted .382 with three homers, seven triples, 14 doubles and 36 RBIs. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round of the amateur draft but chose to return to EC his sophomore season.
The 1997 Diamond Warriors were MACJC State Tournament runners-up and finished 40-18. Thames led the offense with a then school-record .420 batting average and had 13 homers and 70 RBIs.
Thames is continuing his career in professional baseball as a coach in the New York Yankees’ minor league system in Tampa.
Lucovich, a Hickory native, spent 32 years as a high school coach and teacher, all at Carthage High School.
He served 28 years (1981-2009) as athletic director and head football coach.
His teams compiled an overall record of 162 wins and 125 losses, which included 10 playoff appearances. Three of his squads (1991, 1992, 2007) finished Class AAA South State runners-up.
He also had four squads (1983, 1991, 1992, 2007) to achieve number-one rankings in the state during season competition.
Lucovich also achieved success as junior varsity head coach, compiling an overall 49-14 mark.
His overall record as football coach is 211 wins and 139 losses.
Lucovich also served as golf and tennis coach at Carthage High School.
He led the golf team for 12 years (1998-2010) and seven of his squads qualified for state tournament competition.
He coached tennis for eight years (2002-2010), compiling four district tournament titles and a state tournament appearance.
Lucovich received numerous honors throughout his career.
He was selected Choctaw Conference Football Coach of the Year in 1982 and 1983; District VI Football Coach of the Year in 1991 and District V Football Coach of the Year in 2007; District IV Tennis Coach of the Year in 2006, 2007 and 2008; District V Golf Coach of the Year in 2006; and Mississippi Association of Coaches Athletic Director of the Year in 2004-05.
Prior to beginning his successful coaching career, Lucovich was two-sport standout at East Central from 1971-73.
He was a wide receiver on the 1971 football squad and played offense, defense and was a punt returner for the 1972 Warriors, earning honorable mention Mississippi Junior College All-Conference honors.
Lucovich also excelled in baseball, as the pitcher/shortstop was the leading hitter on the 1973 squad with a .365 batting average.
Lucovich recently retired but continues to teach driver’s education classes on a part-time basis at Leake County High School.
Several reunion groups and numerous activities are also scheduled as part of ECCC’s 2013 Homecoming celebration.