|Title:||Head Football Coach|
Northeast head football coach Ricky Smither returns for his sixth year at the helm of the Tiger football program entering into the 2013 season.
Smither had a year of rebuilding year in 2012 where the Tigers went 3-6 overall.
His journey as commander-in-chief for NEMCC first presented itself on July 3, 2008 when he became the 13th head football coach in school history.
In his first year as head coach Smither's overall record was 1-8. However, he was able to improve to 2-6 overall in 2009 with three of the six losses going into extra periods.
One of the biggest wins for Smither since becoming the go-to-guy at NEMCC came in a 28-21 victory over the Tigers arch rival Itawamba Community College in September of 2009.
However, in 2010, Smither proved that he was the man for the job as his program continued to get better. The Tigers posted their twelfth winning season in the college’s 51-year football history when Smither’s troops finished with a 5-4 overall record and a 4-2 mark in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division.
Smither helped Northeast garnered national attention during week six of the season after the Tigers were able to knock off defending MACJC State Champion East Mississippi 49-42 in a shootout in Scooba where Tiger running back Jaquise Cook (Ripley) Ran for 267 yards and four scores against the Lions. Cook was awarded the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Player of the Week honors following his week six performance.
In addition to posting the team’s first winning season since 2005, under the direction of Smither, the Tiger football team also captured the attention of the national media when Northeast was included in the NJCAA National Top 20 Football Poll for the week of October 19, 2010 at No. 18 after the Tigers opened up the season 5-2.
The Tigers missed the playoffs due to MACJC tiebreaker rules, but Smither led Northeast past that threshold one year later.
Northeast finished the 2011 regular season campaign at 6-3 and clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 2005. Their 4-2 mark in division play for the second year in a row would place them as the North runner-up, behind eventual NJCAA National Champion East Mississippi Community College.
In the MACJC Semifinals, the Tigers took South Division champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to overtime before falling short of advancing by a field goal.
Smither began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Delta State University in 1995, later accepting a coaching position at Cleveland (Miss.) High School in 1997. He made the move to community college coaching in 1998, joining the staff at Coahoma Community College. From 1999-2006, Smither enjoyed stints at East Side High School (Miss.), H.L. Bourgeois High School (Louisiana), while also working at the Division-I level as an assistant coach at Mississippi Valley State University (2002-04).
Smither came on board at Northeast as an assistant football coach, focusing on the offensive line, in February of 2007, just over a year before accepting the job as the Tigers head coach.
Smither enjoyed success as the Tigers' offensive line coach in his first season at NEMCC. His first o-line group sported two four-year college signees: Reggie Wade (Jacksonville State University) and Greg Magnifico (Belhaven University).
Since becoming the head coach, Smither has continued to help his sophomores move their gridiron careers on to four year universities.
Some of his most recent players to move on, after the 2009-10 campaigns, were standouts like defensive tackle John Brown, who signed with the University of Tenneesee, and safety LaDarrius Madden along with offensive lineman DeMarkus Underwood who both signed to play for Troy University, while another safety John Ware inked with the University of North Alabama, wide receiver Josh Jarboe signed with Arkansas State, cornerback Deion Belue signed with the University of Alabama, tight end Logan Stokes inked with LSU, defensive tackle Lavon Hooks signed with Ole Miss, and running back Jay Jones inked with South Alabama.
Smither graduated from Delta State University with a Master's Degree in Education. He and his wife Lynn have two children; Russ and Kaitlyn.