By Brett Brown
A return to the glory days is high on the Christmas wish list of many Northwest Mississippi Community College football fans.
Those dreams could soon come true with the hiring of Ricky Woods who was named head football coach at Northwest on Dec. 18.
Woods is most famous for his success at South Panola High School. He replaces Randy Pippin who resigned in November after three seasons at Northwest.
“We are pleased and excited to have Coach Woods as the new coach of the Rangers,” said Northwest president Dr. Gary Spears. “He comes with a wealth of experience and success. We expect him to bring the same success to Northwest that he has brought to other institutions where he has coached.”
Woods, a native of Ackerman, Mississippi, accepted the position after meeting with Spears and Dr. Chuck Strong, Northwest’s Vice-President for Educational Affairs.
“This is a great place to coach with a rich tradition in football,” said Woods. “I am excited about the opportunity to get back to Mississippi and to coach at Northwest.”
One of the most successful coaches ever in the Mississippi high school ranks, Woods owns a career record of 213-43. His coaching stops include South Panola High School, Ackerman High School, and Eupora High School.
Woods comes to Northwest after one season at Bainbridge (Ga.) High School. He led Bainbridge to the quarter-finals of the state playoffs and a record of 9-4 in 2007. Bainbridge posted a record of 5-6 the year before Woods’ arrival.
South Panola High School was where Woods made the headlines on a state and national level.
Woods guided the Tigers to a five-year record of 74-1, including a 60-game win streak, from 2002 through 2006. South Panola also claimed four consecutive Class 5A State Championships. All four of those teams ranked in the Top 10 nationally according to USA Today.
Woods owns the Mississippi High School Activities Association record with six state championships to his credit. He won the Class 2A state title in 1997 and 2001 while serving as head coach at Ackerman High School from 1994 through 2001.
Woods was selected EA Sports National Coach of the Year and state Coach of the Year by The Clarion Ledger in 2005. He was named Class 5A Coach of the Year by the MHSAA four consecutive seasons from 2003 through 2006.
“We are excited to have Coach Woods join the Northwest family,” said Dr. Strong. “I look forward to working with him as we begin a new chapter in the great tradition that is Northwest football.”