Netflix Series Shines International Spotlight On EMCC Lions Football Program

SCOOBA, Miss. (PRESS RELEASE) – A sports documentary by the internet television network Netflix that shines an unflinching spotlight on East Mississippi Community College’s football program has been garnering international attention and positive reviews that began even before its Friday release.

The six-part series titled “Last Chance U” was released worldwide at 12:01 a.m. Friday to Netflix members.

By noon Friday, the official Netflix trailer of the documentary on YouTube had 444,710 views.

Major dailies and news organizations are hailing “Last Chance U” as a must-see for college football fans and the general viewing public alike.

Writing for CinemaBlend, Nick Venable calls the documentary inspirational and motivational. Venable writes that the series is “the most captivating sports programming in Netflix’s original library” and that it “also stands tall against everything else Netflix has going.”

EMCC President Dr. Thomas Huebner said he understands why viewers find the documentary compelling.

“The series is honest and raw and captures the essence of college football, which is at times coarse,” Huebner said.

“People know when they are watching something that is genuine and, from start to finish, this series is a reflection on the authentic nature of the relationships and experiences shared by the players and staff at East Mississippi Community College.”

The documentary follows a group of EMCC football players during the Lions’ 2015 football season.

Netflix film crews were granted unrestricted access to team members and the resulting series provides an unfiltered look into the lives of the players, for many of whom EMCC represents their last chance to earn a spot on a Division 1 team.

The series depicts some of the players’ struggles in the classroom and their exploits on the football field.

But it is not just the players who are spotlighted in the series.

Major dailies and online news organizations are hailing EMCC Lions Coach Buddy Stephens and EMCC Athletic Instructional Advisor Brittany Wagner as striking personalities in the series.

Stephens, who has led the Lions to three national championships, is described by Boston Globe correspondent Isaac Feldberg as “a thoroughly committed and oft-coarse ’Bama boy, occasionally boiling over with red-hot rage but rarely distracted from the minutiae of what’s unfolding on the field. He’s faced with the tricky task of whipping players into fighting shape without crushing their spirits.”

StarTribune writer Neal Justin calls Wagner the documentary’s “real standout.”

“Her scenes in which she prods and pleads with her students to do everything from carry a pencil to class to practice safe sex are more riveting than any action on the gridiron,” Justin wrote of Wagner.

Stephens and Wagner were in Los Angeles this past week for Netflix premier week activities preceding the release of the documentary.

In an email, Wagner said she has been interviewed by a “slew” of international reporters about “Last Chance U” and was amazed by the media attention the documentary is receiving.

“I had no idea when agreeing to do this show what would come of it, if anything,” Wagner wrote.

“I wasn’t very familiar with Netflix at the time and honestly never really thought about the audience it would reach. Netflix is the stage everyone with a story to tell strives to be on, and I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and for the world to hear our story.”

Thursday night, about 150 EMCC faculty, staff, students and friends of the college previewed the first episode in an early showing in Stennis Auditorium on the Scooba campus.

EMCC Lions’ slot receiver Isaiah Wright was among those who attended.

Wright was filmed during the first episode of “Last Chance U” returning a kickoff for 99 yards during the Lions’ opening game of the 2015 season.

Wright was not supposed to be on the field for the play and when asked on camera who put him in the game, he replied, “I did,” earning chuckles from the viewers.

“I really liked the way they did it,” Wright said after watching the first episode. “It was perfect.”

Several in attendance said they were impressed with both the quality of the series and the dedication shown by the college’s staff in helping the players hone their gridiron prowess and sharpen their academic skills.

“Anybody who loves Scooba football is going to love this,” said Judy Higginbotham, former EMCC accounts receivable manager who retired last December after 34 years of service.

“I like that they let the audience get to know the kids individually. Sure, there is some bad language in it, but it is football and you are going to have bad language in football.”

To become a member of Netflix, visit or call 1-866-579-7172 for more information.



EMCC Last Chance U 1



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