Farris Named Athletic Director at Northeast Mississippi Community College
BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WCBI/NEMCC Athletics) – A longtime coach is following in the footsteps of past legends and looks to lead Northeast Mississippi Community College into a successful future on the field of competition
Kent Farris has been tasked to oversee Northeast’s sports programs as its athletic director. He replaces David Robbins, who remains with the institution as its dean of student services.
“Kent will bring a great vision of excellence for our athletic department,” said Northeast executive vice president Ricky Ford. “He has the knowledge and experience of the intricate details that will go well with the administration of an athletic program.”
Farris leaves the Tiger baseball team as its second winningest headman with 212 career victories in nine seasons at the helm. He trails only Northeast Sports Hall of Fame member Ray Scott in the all-time wins column.
“It’s a huge honor for me,” Farris said. “Basically I’ve been coaching probably since I was 18 or 19 years old. I’m at the point in my life where I want to change things and do something different. I can’t think of a better place to be and a better job than what I’ve been asked to do.”
Farris has already cemented his legacy by lifting the Tigers to unparalleled success on the diamond. His squads qualified for the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) playoffs six times since he came to Northeast prior to the 2007 campaign.
Northeast was placed among the country’s elite units by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) on more than one occasion under Farris. The Tiger were most recently ranked No. 19 during the poll period from March 11-24, 2014.
The Corinth native brought postseason action back to the City of Hospitality in 2009 following a 17-year drought. Northeast finished as the league runner-up during that campaign with a 33-14 mark and welcomed Jones County Junior College for a best-of-three series.
Farris guided the Tigers to their first MACJC North Division championship since 1992 four years later. Northeast edged rival Northwest Mississippi Community College for the title and later took its opening round playoff meeting with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
The Tigers continued to rewrite their history in 2014 when they earned the right to host the double elimination MACJC State Tournament for the first time under its current format.
Around 1,250 fans packed the bleachers at Harold T. White Field for seven games over a three-day period. Farris’ ballclub faced eventual state champion Jones County and East Central Community College before ending the campaign with a 27-20 mark.
A total of 58 athletes that starred under the watch of Farris committed to play at four-year universities at the NCAA Division I, II, III and NAIA levels. He also instructed Northeast Sports Hall of Famer Chase Porch, who became the Tigers’ lone NJCAA All-American in 2008.
Three men that started for Farris at Northeast signed professional contracts. Phillip Chapman signed with the Minnesota Twins, Brandon Farley was drafted in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball (MLB) Amateur Draft by San Francisco and Porch inked with three separate organizations in the independent American Association.
Farris also made sure his student-athletes focused on their studies. The Tigers were selected as a NJCAA All-Academic Team last season while five players over the last two years received individual scholastic awards as well.
He started his lengthy career as an assistant at the University of North Alabama and helped the Lions claim the Gulf South Conference (GSC) crown in 1984. That squad finished second in the NCAA Division II South Central Region as well.
Farris’ most extensive head coaching tenure came at Alcorn Central High School, where he served from 1984-95. He compiled a 265-162-7 record with the Golden Bears and captured one Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 3A championship.
He made stops at three other high schools, including Caledonia, Columbus and New Hope, before arriving at Northeast. Farris was named the Commercial Dispatch Coach of the Year in 2006 after guiding the Falcons to the MHSAA Division 2, Class 5A title.
Farris was a co-founder of the Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association for Better Baseball (NEMCABB) and is also a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), the Crossroads Diamond Club, the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) and the Mississippi Association of Professional Educators.
He began working as an associate scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club in 1998 and was an active coach for the American Legion during his storied career across the Magnolia State.
Farris was selected to coach in the Crossroads Diamond Club All-Star Game in 1989 and the NEMCABB All-Star Game at Corinth’s Jesse Bynum Field twice in 1992 and 2002. He assisted the Mississippi team in the Junior Sunbelt Classic from 1979-99 and in 2001.
“Northeast is a place that’s very special. It sells itself,” said Farris. “It’s all about the school. We’ve got a tremendous coaching staff coming back that’s already in place. I’m really excited about this new opportunity and am ready to get started.”
He becomes Northeast’s eighth listed athletic director and is the latest in a storied lineage of gentlemen to serve in this capacity, including NJCAA Hall of Fame inductees Bonner Arnold, W.B. “Bill” Ward and Ford.
His new responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations of eight varsity sports, an all-female cheerleading squad and to coordinate the annual MACJC All-Star Football Classic that is held each December at Tiger Stadium.
Farris holds a Bachelor’s degree from North Alabama and a Master’s in secondary education from the same institution. He has one son, Keaton, and is happily married to his wife, Joye.
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