Skelton new head of SP athletics

Published 1:31 pm Monday, February 18, 2019

Is NWCC’s all-time winningest basketball coach

By Jeremy Weldon

One of the most successful basketball coaches ever in Mississippi was named as the new Athletics Coordinator for South Panola School District at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Trustees.

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Don “Bubba” Skelton, who recently retired as Athletics Director at Northwest Mississippi Community College and head men’s basketball coach, began his duties at the Batesville schools this week. He replaces Trea Higdon, who was recently appointed to lead the district’s Career and Technical Education department.

“Mr.  Skelton has vast experience in athletics and was a very successful as a basketball coach,” Superintendent Tim Wilder told the trustees after this recommendation was approved. “We’re fortunate to have him come to South Panola.”

At Northwest as Athletics Director, Skelton oversaw the construction of the $5 million football complex on campus, and made several upgrades to the Rangers basketball and baseball programs.

Wilder told the board the position will continue to be part-time. He said Higdon was Athletics Coordinator while also filling the high school assistant principal’s post, and others before him were usually serving in other roles besides coordinator also. Wider said he doesn’t intend to recommend hiring another assistant principal to replace Higdon.

Skelton has more than 30 years experience in athletics, and was head of the Athletics Department at NWCC for the past six years. As coach, he led the Rangers to a No. 12 national ranking (NJCAA) in 2017-18 and was named 2018 Coach of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges.

He is the winningest coach in Northwest men’s basketball history, and over 20 years compiled a record of 394-169 at the junior college level.

In addition to Northwest, Skelton was the head coach at Jones County CC and Southwest Mississippi CC, and was an assistant at Lamar University in Texas.

His first stint at NCWW (1198-2006) saw the Rangers win three MACJC championships, five Region 23 championships, and earn five appearances in national tournaments in Hutchinson, Kas.

Before joining the collegiate ranks, Skelton was a teacher and coach at Lafayette High School and Monroe County High School in Kentucky.

A native of Clinton, Skelton received a bachelor’s in education from Mississippi College where he had a successful basketball career. He later earned a master’s from Delta State University.

He and his wife Tammie, who also works for SPSD as the Federal Programs director and school improvement officer, have been married 30 years. They have a son, Trey, who is a senior at Ole Miss.

CUTLINE:  Don Skelton