Pearl River Community College
||This school-related article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (March 2008)|
|Pearl River Community College|
|President||Dr. William A. Lewis|
|Location||Poplarville, Mississippi, USA|
|Colors||Maroon & Gold|
Pearl River Community College is a public community college in Poplarville, Mississippi, USA. It was founded as Pearl River County Agricultural High School in 1909, then became the first junior college in Mississippi in 1921.
Pearl River County Agricultural High School (PRCAHS) was the result of the Mississippi Agricultural High School Law of 1908, making it the nation's first state-funded system of agricultural high schools. The law was found to be in violation of the separate but equal clause in the state's constitution by the state's Supreme Court late in 1909 when no equal opportunity was offered for the state's African-American children. The overturned law caused all but three of the twenty original agricultural high schools in the state to close, since state funding was no longer available. Pearl River County citizens came to the school's rescue, however, when private citizens secured a loan from a local bank to fund the school until the Mississippi Legislature could pass a new law which made opportunity for both races.
Classes began on September 8, 1909 under the direction of Professor T.M. Kelly. The entire boarding high school was located in one three-story building erected on 20 acres (81,000 m2) of land on the edge of the county's seat, Poplarville. Classrooms and the cafeteria was located on the building's first floor, while the girls' dormitory occupied the second floor and the boys' dormitory occupied the third floor.
PRCAHS, under the supervision of James Andrew Huff, added freshman college classes to the curriculum to the school in 1921-22, making Pearl River College the first 2-year public institution in Mississippi. Pearl River College continued to lead the way by the addition of sophomore classes in 1925-26.
Pearl River College has since expanded to include four locations, the main campus in Poplarville, the Forrest County Center and Lowery Woodall Advanced Technology Center in Hattiesburg, MS, and the Hancock Center in Waveland, MS.
In August 2005, PRCC's Poplarville campus suffered an estimated $40–50 million in damage at the hand of Hurricane Katrina. This included severe structural damage to the auditorium wing of Moody Hall, the state's oldest junior college building, and M. R. White Coliseum, the college's sports arena. Both the auditorium wing of Moody Hall and the entire sports arena have been razed for student safety. Plans are on hold due to insurance for replacement structures. Most of the roofs on campus had to be replaced due to the storm, and many buildings had to undergo extensive mold remediation. The Hancock Center, on the Gulf Coast, was completely gutted by the massive tidal surge. The main campus was shut down for three weeks due to damages and the Hancock Center was shut down for four weeks.
Pearl River's athletic teams are called the Wildcats, and the football team won four straight Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC) championships (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006) since head coach Tim Hatten took over the program in 2002. Pearl River also won the 2004 National Championship of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) with the help of three NJCAA All-Americans, including wide receiver Larry Brackins, who was selected 155th overall by the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2005 NFL Draft; quarterback Jimmy Oliver, and offensive lineman Matt Lott. PRCC played for the 2006 NJCAA title in the Pilgrim's Pride Bowl Classic in Mt. Pleasant, Tex., but lost to Blinn College (Tex.) 19-6.
Brackins was a member of the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League, and the practice squad for the NFL New York Jets. While former Wildcat receiver Donavan Morgan plays with the AFL's Chicago Rush franchise after brief NFL stints with the New York Jets, Houston Texans, and Buffalo Bills. Larry Kendrick, Brackins' 2003 Wildcat teammate, signed on with the Ole Miss Rebels following the one-year stint at Pearl River and was an NJCAA All-American as a wide receiver and a defensive back, as well as being named the NJCAA's Male Athlete of the Year in 2003. Kendrick currently plays in the Arena 2 league.
PRCC's 2006 state title marked its 19th in school history, which is a record for Mississippi community colleges. Oliver guided the Wildcats to their 2004 and 2005 titles and earned NJCAA "Offensive Player of the Year" honors both seasons, including All-American accolades. Oliver played two seasons with Jackson State University, guiding the Tigers to the 2007 SWAC championship.
Pearl River won four MACJC state championships during the 2003-2004 school year in football, men's basketball under head coach Richard Mathis, women's soccer under former head coach Adam Breerwood, who is now Dean of Student Services at PRCC; and baseball under former head coach Jay Artigues, who is now head coach of the Southeastern Louisiana Lions. PRCC also won the 2005 MACJC women's soccer championship under former head coach Patrick Hayes.
Three former Wildcat players are currently in the NFL, including San Diego Charger wide receiver Demetrius Byrd (who also won the 2008 BCS National Championship with the LSU Tigers after playing for PRCC), Washington Redskin defensive linemen Cornelius Griffin, and Oakland Raider defensive back Hiram Eugene. Former PRCC basketball standout James Singleton played two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and currently plays for the Washington Wizards.
In 2010 PRCC Mens soccer team signed an up-and-coming professional from Scotland, Curtis Sangbarani.
- Jimmy Buffett 1967
- William Leon Clark
- J. P. Compretta
- Cornelius Griffin
- Rhyne Hughes
- Demetrius Byrd
- James Singleton (basketball)