Hall of Fame

John Ray Ricks, Class of 1937

Induction Class of 2001

John was a native of Wheeler, MS., where he excelled in basketball once holding Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame inductee Country Graham scoreless in one game. Ricks was one of four freshmen who earned letter in basketball on the 1936 Sunflower Junior College team that won the Mississippi Valley Conference Championship in Jackson, TN. In 1937 he was Captain of the Trojans basketball team and led SJC to its first Junior College State Championship.

John Ricks went on to Delta State Teachers College where he was the team Captain in 1938 and 1939 and the team’s scoring leader both years. In one game, Ricks played against Mississippi College with one arm in a sling and scored 18 points while holding Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame inductee Joel Hitt to just 12 points.

Ricks began his coaching career at Carson High School where he was head coach from 1939-1941 when he enlisted in the Navy during the middle of the season. His team went on to win the Mississippi High School Basketball Championship without a coach.

After WWII Ricks coached at Copiah-Lincoln Junior College for two years before becoming the head basketball coach at Delta State from 1947-1961. While there he amassed a record of 211 wins against 123 losses. His teams advanced to the NAIB National Tournament three times and he was the recipient of the NAIA award for service to intercollegiate athletics. He was inducted into the Delta State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.

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