|Shawn Wansley, JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE, Miss. - Jones County Junior College has a new men’s basketball coach.
Randy Bolden was introduced as the Bobcats’ head coach Friday during a press conference at the school’s graduation luncheon in the C.L. Neill Student Center.
“I am very excited,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming. The faculty, staff and administration have been really good to me. I am looking forward to getting started and building on the success they’ve had at Jones.”
Bolden was an assistant coach at Hinds Community College this past season.
Prior to that, he was head coach at Meridian High School for nine years, guiding the Wildcats to a 227-55 record and a MHSAA 6A state championship in 2011. Meridian also won two South State crowns.
He served as head coach at Pearl High School from 2004-07 and was an assistant coach at Jackson Provine High School from 2002-04.
The Forest Hill High School graduate played collegiately at Texas Southern from 1994-98. He was the Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year for both his junior and senior seasons. He was named All-SWAC both of those years and was the SWAC Freshman of the Year in 1994-95.
He finished in the top 10 in scoring nationally twice and helped Texas Southern to the NCAA Tournament in 1995 where the Tigers came close to upsetting defending national Arkansas, dropping a 79-78 decision.
After graduating from Texas Southern, Bolden played professional basketball from 1998-2002 in Iceland, Brazil and Canada before getting into the coaching profession.
Bolden said JCJC President Dr. Jesse Smith and the overall success of the Bobcat athletic program attracted him to the job.
“It’s the winning culture here,” he said. “They’ve been winning for some years now. The administration is great and I think Dr. Smith is one of the best in the country. He has a great vision of where he wants all of his athletic programs to be and our visions align. That played a big role for me.”
Bolden said would bring the basics to JCJC – things that have helped him be successful in the past.
“Experience, hard work and accountability,” he said. “I’m not trying to invent the wheel. I just want to make sure we continue with the success they’ve had and build on it.”
Bolden replaces Rahim Lockhart, who resigned last month to take an assistant coaching position at Ole Miss.
The Bobcats posted a 29-2 record this past season, which is a school record for wins. JCJC also won the MACJC and Region 23 Tournament championships and competed in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament for only the second time in school history.
JCJC loses seven sophomores off of that team, including first-team NJCAA All-American center Bruce Stevens.
Bolden knows he has to get started quickly when it comes to recruiting.
“We lost a lot from last year’s team, so we are on the recruiting trial right now,” he said. “We are starting to get some guys in and go from there.”
Bolden, who accepted the job Thursday morning, is also in the process of putting together a coaching staff.
“It’s been a busy two days for me,” he said. “I am in the process of recruiting players, as well as getting my staff complete. In the next few days, I hope to be able to sit down with some people and finalize my staff.”
JCJC Athletic Director Katie Herrington is confident Bolden will do well at JCJC.
“We had 29 applicants and numerous more phone calls from people who expressed interest in the job,” she said. “We interviewed eight applicants. As we went through those interviews and talked to the coaches, we felt like Coach Bolden was such a great fit for our college. We have been successful and we feel like we have been successful doing it the right way with the right people and doing it with integrity.
“I think Coach Bolden will continue that success and with that same type of character.”
Bolden feels like he is at home at Jones.
“The JCJC family has embraced me with open arms,” he said “It’s like I’ve been here for years. From the fans to the faculty to the staff – they have been unbelievable. I am looking forward to being part of this family.”