BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/NEMCC Athletics) – After twelve years away from his home state, Paul Nixon has returned to Mississippi to reunite with an old friend and help a tradition rich hoops program continue to excel.
Nixon, who has 20 years of NCAA Division I coaching experience, brings a wealth of knowledge to the Northeast Mississippi Community College women’s basketball program as its new assistant coach beginning with the 2013-14 season.
“Coach Nixon and I have known each other for many years. When he was looking for a job and I was looking for a new assistant coach it just fit perfectly,” said Lady Tiger head coach Brian Alexander. “We’re really excited to have him here. He’s a fine Christian man that fits in philosophically with every piece of our program.”
Nixon looks to settle down in the Magnolia State after serving in different coaching positions in six separate states across America. His coast-to-coast travels include stops at Vanderbilt, Marshall, Nevada, Southern Miss, Indiana and Columbia.
“Getting a chance to come back home and be around my family and friends has been really a blessing,” said Nixon. “You can go to different parts of the country, but a lot of things don’t change. Basketball is the same and in many ways players are the same. The thing that might make you successful in one part of the country is also going to help you be successful somewhere else.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re coaching an Ivy League-caliber student or someone who has really just been playing basketball their whole life. The factors that allow a player to be successful on the court are very consistent and we’re looking to instill that in our players here.”
The Jackson native gained valuable knowledge of the game of basketball while working as a student assistant and manager for both the men’s and women’s programs at Vanderbilt University. He attended practices each day and performed various tasks over the course of each session.
Nixon has earned a Bachelor of Arts from Vanderbilt and completed a Master of Science while working at Marshall.
He also graduated during the inaugural year of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s (WBCA) Center for Coaching Excellence while at Columbia in 2011. Nixon has been a member of the WBCA since 1993.
At Northeast, Nixon will focus on instructing the post players. He’s been impressed so far with the energy that surrounds not just the women’s basketball program, but the entire campus as well.
“The thing that’s struck me since starting here is just how proud everyone is to be associated with Northeast here in the Booneville community,” said Nixon. “I’ve met alums. I’ve met current students. I’ve met faculty. Whether it’s a current employee or someone who played ten or fifteen years ago, they’re just really, really proud to be associated with Northeast and now I am too.”
The Lady Tigers hope to have a promising 2013-14 season after losing only two sophomores from a team that last year was the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament runner-up and qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XXIII Tournament.
Nixon is very optimistic that Northeast can exceed those expectations starting with the opening tipoff in November.
“I see bright days ahead for Lady Tiger basketball,” he said. “We have the strongest women’s basketball tradition in the state and we’re looking forward to upholding that tradition and taking the program back to the heights at which it is used to being.”