/No matter where he coaches, Ricky Black produces championship football teams

No matter where he coaches, Ricky Black produces championship football teams

The most successful and respected football coaches are able to adapt to various situations. Bear Bryant is a great example of this. He won both with all-white and integrated teams. He also won in one-platoon as well as two-platoon football. He won both wishbone and pro-style offenses. He won in Kentucky blue and Aggie maroon. Bryant won no matter what. Bryant once stated, “I’m nothing but a loser.” Ricky Black, Mississippi’s second-winningest high school football coach, will be inducted into Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Saturday night. Black won at both small schools like Kosciusko (49-6), as well as large schools like Tupelo (89-31). Black won at both the public schools as well as at Jackson Prep, where he was 245-38. He was a winner with wishbone option and running veer offenses, and he has also won with pro-style offenses. He won with country children, but now he is winning with city kids. He is a winner. Black, 70 years old, will enter his 49th year as a coach with a remarkable record of 383-75. The National High School Athletic Coaches Association named Black the National High School Football Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year in 2018. He is the first Mississippian to receive the award in the rich history Mississippi high school football. There is no telling how many games Black could have won if he hadn’t taken a six year sabbatical (1991-1996) from high-school coaching to join Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State. True story: Sherill called me immediately after he took State’s job. He said, “I want to hire Mississippi’s best high school coach to join my staff.” Then he asked me, “In your opinion, which three coaches should I consider?” Black was the one who had rebuilt the Tupelo program. Mac Barnes (then at Meridian) and Mike Justice (then in Louisville) were the two other. Sherill hired Black and he would serve State as both a tight end coach, and as a recruiting coordinator. Black is currently second to Centreville Academy’s Bill Hurst (409-119) on Mississippi’s all-time victories list. Black averaged nine wins per year during 42 head coaching seasons. He would likely have more than 430 victories without the six-year hiatus. Black has never thought about this. Black stated, “Well, I’ve thought about it, but not for too long.” “My experience at Mississippi State was great. You don’t go into this business expecting to win a lot. You don’t go into business expecting to be in year 49 one day. Black says he misses teaching younger players. Black stated, “You have more influence over 14-18-year-olds.” You teach more and that’s the part that I enjoy most. “I have always loved teaching the fundamentals.” Justice coached Black at Louisville, while Black was at Tupelo. Justice was then asked why Black is so successful. Justice stated, “Number one Ricky’s teams have always been so fundamentally sound.” Justice said, “That’s an important point but the other thing that happened at Tupelo was that his teams became more difficult.” Tupelo was a very soft place before Ricky arrived. He made them more physically and tougher. He’s just an ordinary good football coach. A winner.” Linda Black was only 19 when she married Ricky, but she confesses that she didn’t know much about football. She has been to every game he’s ever coached. She said, “I love him, I like the sport.” He does the right things, which is why I love him. He wants to help those kids become as good as possible as a player and as good as a person. Ricky Black has seen literally thousands of potential in each child he coaches, and he pushes them. *** Previous: Wilbert Montgomery Roy Oswalt Richard Price