Brenda Mayes is coming back to an old stomping ground after three decades away from the Magnolia State to direct one of the most tradition-rich hoops programs in the entire country at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Mayes was selected as the next head women’s basketball coach of the Lady Tigers, who have claimed one national championship and 10 Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) state titles in their illustrious history.
She recently completed her 26th year at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School after serving in various roles, including girls basketball and volleyball coach. She becomes Northeast’s second female headwoman, joining former tennis instructor Emma Braddock.
“I’m honored to have been considered and excited about coming back to where I began my college career and being able to work with coach Ford,” Mayes said. “I’m proud to return home to make a difference.”
Mayes started the process of transforming the Northeast into a national powerhouse in 1981 when she was part of Ford’s inaugural recruiting class as commander-in-chief of the Lady Tigers.
Northeast produced a 14-11 record and qualified for the Mississippi Junior College Conference North Half Tournament during her initial season in the City of Hospitality.
The Lady Tigers improved tremendously during the 1982-83 campaign with Mayes in the post. Northeast compiled a 26-8 overall ledger and finished just short of claiming state and regional crowns.
She was selected to the MJCC All-State team for her efforts as the leading scorer and rebounder for a Lady Tiger squad that averaged 74.2 points and 40.8 boards per contest, respectively.
The Biggersville High School alumnae averaged a double-double that year with 21 points and 10.5 rebounds each outing. Mayes totaled an outstanding 697 points for the entire season.
She was a founding member of the Northeast softball program as well and starred for two seasons under the watch of coach Millard Lothenore. The Tigers, who played at the slow-pitch level in the 1980s, compiled an 11-13 record in their opening campaign with victories over four-year schools Blue Mountain College and the University of North Alabama.
Northeast’s 1983 edition that featured Mayes qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament in Cullman, Ala., with a 24-7 overall mark.
Mayes was the recipient of the Tiger Award, which is given to a student-athlete that represents Northeast with a positive attitude on-and-off the field or court and is actively involved in school functions and organizations, for both softball and women’s basketball.
She signed a scholarship with the North Alabama following her excellent pair of seasons at Northeast. Mayes flourished with the Lady Lions as well and connected on over 50 percent of her shot attempts for 919 career points.
The Corinth native led North Alabama to its initial berth in the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament in 1984. One year later, Mayes and the Lady Lions claimed their first-ever Gulf South Conference (GSC) regular season and tournament titles and returned to the NCAA Tournament.
Mayes and teammate LaConger Cohran were the first ladies to be recognized as eall-conference for two straight campaigns. She was also named to the 1985 NCAA South Region All-Tournament team and the Kodak NCAA Division II All-American lineup.
She enjoyed a large amount of success as a coach at Muscle Shoals. Mayes won four Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) volleyball state crowns and qualified for the AHSAA Elite Eight in girls basketball.
Mayes has been tabbed as Coach of the Year in volleyball only by The Birmingham News, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association.
She will be inducted into the MACJC Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday night in Pearl. Mayes is also a member of the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame, the North Alabama Athletic Hall of Fame and the Colbert County (Ala.) Sports Hall of Fame.
Juco Northeast Mississippi Community College