Community college football owes a debt to this coach – and his wife |

He grew up in Bigbee Valley, near Deerbrook and Cliftonville, 12 miles off U.S. 45 in northern Noxubee County.

Gene Murphy will tell you the foundation for his success as head football coach at Hinds Community College for 24 years was formed there, surrounded by ordinary people who did extraordinary things.

“Most have never had headlines or stories written about them,” he says. “But they showed me how to be successful, and how to treat people.”

Murphy was surprised Sept. 14 when Hinds Community College’s football field in Raymond was named for him. When he stepped down as head coach in August due to an inner ear problem that causes dizziness and fatigue, Murphy retired as the winningest active coach in the National Junior College Athletic Association. His record of 172-76-5 includes 14 trips to the state playoffs and eight bowl games.

Murphy, who will remain as athletic director, is especially proud of this: Hinds has earned the David Halbrook Award 15 times during his tenure, for the community college that has the highest percentage of graduates or completers in its athletic program’s district.

 Of course, he owes a portion of his success to his wife of 40 years, the former Dot Easterwood — a star basketball player at Mississippi University for Women from 1971-74 — who has coached wide receivers at Hinds alongside her husband. She also works with the training staff.

Gene is quick to point out, “I didn’t hire her. (The late) Coach (Bill) Buckner hired her before I became the head coach.”

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