The Holmes Community College Bulldog football coaching staff led by Head Coach Jeff Koonz racked in another award during the Mississippi Association of Coaches annual meeting during the week of July 8-12 as they received the "Coach of the Year" Award for the state's community and junior colleges along with the coaching staff at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
The staff previously received the MACJC Coach of the Year Award to go with the MAC award. The Holmes Community College Bulldog football team took a 2-4 North Division record in 2011 and flipped it in 2012 finishing with a 4-2 North Division record and 5-4 overall.
Koonz wasted little time giving his coaching staff the credit for the award. "Anytime there is a coach of a year honor, that is a shared award," Koonz said. "There is no such thing as a coach of the year. When a person wins this, it's obviously their staff.
"Our coordinators really run their schemes," he said. "Both Coach (Mike) McCarty and Coach (Chris) Woods did an excellent job this year. As a team unit, the entire staff was involved in special teams, which was a strong unit."
"It's nice that it (award) came from our peers," he added. "The other coaches in the league voted, and they are the ones we had to go against. It's a nice honor for Holmes Community College."
Koonz said when being named head coach after the 2010 season, he gave himself and his coaching staff two years to get things pointed in the right direction.
"Being that it was a two-year school, we gave ourselves a two-year time frame so that by year two we should be competitive," Koonz said. "Our plan in year one was to go ground floor, level everything and go from the ground up. The foundation was set in year one, but that second year was going to tell us if we were going in the right direction. We are now competing against the best teams in the state, not beating all of them just yet, but that's our ultimate goal."
After the 2011 season, Koonz said he and the staff addressed their immediate needs, and the defensive line was a top priority. "Last season, the offense had a great scheme, was very successful and put up some good numbers," Koonz said. "We put more emphasis on the defense, and the defensive line was top priority.
"To go with that we brought in an experienced coordinator (in Woods) that had great success," he added. "He had a scheme that could be successful in this league."
Improvements in special teams was also a key, and one the Bulldogs achieved with Jacorie Ousley finishing first in returns for touchdowns in the NJCAA and 12th in return yards. "This is something we really emphasized, and that made an immediate impact," Koonz said. "He (Woods) was special team's coordinator at Harvard, and his expertise in that area was a big plus in the success of this year's team."
So what can be expected during 2013 for the Bulldogs? "Now the bar is set higher. That's what we want at Holmes Community College," Koonz said "We have high expectations, higher than most folks have, and I think we proved we can do something special at Holmes. "We appreciate the award, that's a nice recognition, but we are moving on," he added. "There's a broader vision than just this year. We want to be the best in this state. If you are the best, you are in the top 10 in the country."