2018 Hall of Fame Inductees

Coach Nevil Barr

Coach Nevil Barr led winning football programs at Sumrall, Petal, Oak Grove, and Elkins High in West Virginia.  Coach Barr is a native of Magee who graduated from Purvis High where he lettered in football and basketball and played wide receiver at Southern Miss.  He was a two-year letterman at USM where he earned his college degrees in 1975 and 1977.  Nevil started his 40-year coaching career at Vancleave where he was an assistant football coach under Coach Alton Waltman, and helped the team to a 29-9 mark in four seasons.  He moved to Elkins High in West Virginia in 1978 where he worked as an assistant and head coach until 1986.  Coach Barr returned to the Magnolia State to take over the Sumrall gridiron program from 1987 to 1989; in his 2nd year, his team earned a 12-1 record and lost by one point in the South State Finals.  He guided the Petal football team to 81 wins in 12 seasons including championships in the 1993 and 1996 Shrimp Bowls.  In 2001, he took over a downtrodden Oak Grove football program and led the Warriors to the playoffs in his first season.  In his second year at the school, he paced Oak Grove to the Class 5A South State Championship game and in his third season, he led the Warriors to the State championship game.  In his 14 years at Oak Grove, he coached the Warriors to 4 South State titles (2 Class 5A and 2 Class 6A) and the 2013 Class 6A State Championship.  His 2013 Warrior squad finished 14-1 and was ranked 25th in the nation by MaxPreps.  Overall, he led his football teams to a record of 260 wins and 120 losses including his record at Oak Grove which was 146 wins and only 41 losses.  He led his teams to 19 playoff appearances including 11 South State title games.  He coached 4 teams that finished the regular season undefeated including 2 at Oak Grove, 1 at Petal, and 1 at Sumrall.  Coach Barr was a 6-time coach of the year honoree by WDAM TV (1988, 1994, 2001), the Hattiesburg American (1988, 2001), and the Jackson Clarion Ledger (2013).  He received the Martin Luther King Humanitarian and Leadership Award in 2009, and the President Gerald Ford All-American Coach award in 2010.  

Coach Thomas Billups

Coach Thomas Billups is one of the winningest championship basketball coaches in Mississippi High School history who led programs at Vicksburg, Blackburn Junior High, Lanier, Oak Grove, and Tougaloo College.  Coach Billups is a graduate of Camile High in his hometown of Louisville.  He earned his college degrees from Jackson State in 1975 and 1995; he began his 42-year year coaching career at Vicksburg High as an assistant basketball coach in 1976.  He helped lead the Gators hoops team to a state championship in 1980.  Thomas took over the Vicksburg Junior High program in 1983 and paced his teams to four Little Six 8th Grade crowns and two Little Six 9th Grade championships.  In 1986, he arrived at Blackburn Junior High in Jackson where he coached his teams to three appearances in the city championships with two city titles.  Coach Billups arrived at Lanier High in 1991 and built a national high school basketball powerhouse.  Under his guidance, the Lanier Bulldogs appeared in 13 state championship games and captured 8 state crowns in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, and 2007.  Coach Billups led Lanier to the 2007 Grand Slam championship.  His Lanier hoops squads racked up 617 wins and only 119 losses during his 22-year tenure.  He was named Metro Coach of the Year on 6 occasions and a three time state basketball coach of the year by the Jackson Clarion Ledger.  He coached at Oak Grove for one season before entering the college ranks at Tougaloo College in 2014.  His career coaching record for high school basketball is 629 wins and 144 losses and he was a part of 9 state championship teams at Vicksburg and Lanier.

Coach Archie Carlyle

Coach Archie Carlyle is a legendary championship basketball coach who led his teams to state championships at Benton, Yazoo City, and Yazoo County.  A native of Dermott, Arkansas, he is a graduate of Chicot County High in Dermott and Tougaloo College.  He started his 45-year coaching career at Linwood Elementary where he coached the middle school hoops teams to a record of 203 wins and 48 losses in six seasons.  As a head coach, he paced the Benton girls basketball squads to three state titles in 1982, 1984, and 1987, and guided the Benton boys to a state crown in 1985.  From 1987-1991 he coached the Northwest Rankin boys and led his team to a state runner-up finish in 1990.   At Yazoo City, he coached the boys to a 1996 state championship, and the girls team to a state championship in 2009.  He guided Yazoo County to a state title in 2006 in the famous “stall-ball” game against Holly Springs, a contest that is considered one of the biggest upsets in the state tournament.  Along with his 7 state championships, Coach Carlyle coached his teams to 20-plus win seasons 23 times and 30-plus win seasons on 5 occasions.  His teams claimed 1,204 wins, 800 losses, and 1 tie.  He was named coach of the year four times by the Yazoo Herald, two times by the Jackson Clarion Ledger, five times by the MAC, and three times by the MHSAA.  He received three Mississippi/Alabama All-Star coaching honors in 1985, 1989, and 2001.  He reached his 1,000th career coaching victory in 2006.

Coach James Crain

Coach James Crain is an accomplished championship basketball coach who led hoops programs at Mendenhall, Hillcrest Christian, and Simpson Academy.  Coach Crain was born in Mendenhall and was a three-sport letterman at Puckett High.  He was an All-Conference football player, and All-District and All-Tournament team basketball star, and he led the track team to a state title by participating in 4 events.  James lettered in football, basketball, and track at Hinds CC where he graduated in 1975.  He earned his college degree at Southern Miss in 1977.  Coach Crain began his 37-year coaching career at Mendenhall High where he would coach for the next 23 years.  He guided the Mendenhall Tigers basketball squad to three South State titles in 1988, 1990, and 2000; a Class A runner-up finish in 1983; state runner-up seasons in 1989 and 1995; a Grand Slam overall runner-up trophy in 1982; and two state championships in 1982 and 2000.  The 1982 championship team completed a 36-2 record to capture Coach Crain’s first basketball state crown.  His final year at Mendenhall featured a hoops squad that finished 35-4 and won the Class 4A state title in 2000.  He coached 6 seasons at Hillcrest Christian where he paced his boys’ teams to three consecutive Class AAA MAIS state titles in 2007, 2008, and 2009 plus two overall runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009.  James has guided the Simpson Academy basketball program since 2010 where his squads were the Class AA runner-ups in 2011, the South State champions in 2014 and 2016, won the Class AA state titles in 2014 and 2015 and was the overall runner-up in 2016.  Overall, he has coached in 1,292 games with 975 wins and only 317 losses.  His teams have claimed 7 state championships during his career along with 4 state runner-up finishes 4 overall final appearances, 5 South State titles, 3 South State runner-ups, 1 North State runner-up, 15 district crowns, and 9 district runner-ups.  His Mendenhall teams were 586-192, his Hillcrest Christian squads were 167-53, and his Simpson Academy teams have a tally of 222-72 through 2018.  He notched his 900th win in his career in November, 2015, with Simpson Academy.  He has coached in 5 All-Star games covering two sports during his coaching tenure including the following:  the South in the 1986 Mississippi High School All-Star game, the Mississippi team in the 1995 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic, the South in the 2007 and 2009 MAIS All-Star games, and the North in the 1988 MAC All-Star Softball games.  He was selected as the Mississippi high school basketball coach of the year by the Jackson Clarion Ledger in 2000.  Coach Crain was inducted into the Hinds CC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.

Coach Randy West

Coach Randy West is a highly successful championship soccer coach at Pearl and Brandon.  A native of Warner Robins, Georgia, he is a graduate of Pearl High where he was a three-year letterman at wide receiver and achieved numerous scholastic honors including editor of the school newspaper and annual.  He lettered in football and baseball at Millsaps College where he graduated in 1984 and earned his master’s degree at Mississippi College in 1990.  Coach West started his 34-year coaching career at his alma mater at Pearl where he was an assistant football coach and head boys and girls soccer coach.  He coached his Pearl girls’ soccer team in 1998 to a division crown and a South State runner-up.  He arrived at Brandon in 1998 where he has spent the last 20 years as an assistant football coach and head boys’ soccer coach; he also served as head girls’ soccer coach from 2001 – 2008. He has guided the Brandon soccer teams to an amazing 17 region or district titles, 6 semi-final appearances, 4 North/South crowns, and the Boys Class 5A State Championship in 2002.  Overall, his record coaching high school soccer is 633 wins, 258 losses, and 54 ties.  His boys’ record at Brandon is 347 wins, 90 losses, and 36 ties while his Bulldog girls’ squads compiled a record of 84 wins, 30 losses, and 8 ties.  He earned his 600th soccer victory in January, 2016.  Randy is a 14-time MHSAA Division or Region Coach of the Year and he is a three-time MAC Soccer Coach of the Year with two honors for the boys in 2002 and 2010 and 1 girls award in 2006.  He was the NHSCA All American Coach in 2001, the Central Mississippi Coach of the Year in 1989, and the NFHS Regional Coach of the Year in 2003.  He has received other coach of the year honors from the Rankin Ledger and the Jackson Clarion Ledger.  He is a six-time All-Star soccer coach having guided teams in the MAC All-Star Soccer games in 1988, 1993, 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2004.  Coach West has been a member of the MAC for 34 years and has served 10 years on the MAC Executive Committee.  He is a longtime member of the MAC soccer committee and is currently serving as MAC Vice President, a position that will elevate to the MAC President for the 2018-19 year.