07 Dec 2017

Fears receives alumni award from Mississippi College

(press release provided by Mississippi College)

CLINTON – Mere seconds are left on the game clock as Derrick Fears instructs his basketball players how to hit the winning shot.

It’s something the Mississippi Delta Community College hoops coach has done countless times for the men’s team on the Moorhead campus.

Holding two degrees from Mississippi College, Fears took timeout from his basketball duties to be honored as the MC Communication Department’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

A former MC Choctaws hoops player under legendary Coach Mike Jones, Fears spend a few minutes at MC’s 2017 Homecoming thanking his professors for his successful journey. During his coaching tenure, Mississippi Delta Community College has won two divisional basketball championships.

“I thank God for Mississippi College,’’ Fears told dozens of communication students during his October 20 visit to the Clinton campus.

He dreamed of playing in the NBA one day. When that didn’t work out he played one year of pro basketball in Portugal before getting into coaching.

“Never giving up on your dream,’’ is the message that the Memphis native delivered to a new generation of MC students. They gathered at the Baptist Healthplex, less than a mile from where Fears once shined for the Choctaws on the hardwood at the A.E. Wood Coliseum.

The 1991 MC business communication graduate worked hard in the classroom and hustled on the court to be a Gulf South Conference standout. He received his MC master’s degree in 1995.

Fears thanked professors like Communication Chairman Cliff Fortenberry and the late Billy Lytal for offering constant encouragement along the way. His wife, Victoria, looked on as her husband offered insights for today’s students who may face obstacles as they pursue careers.

Fears also teaches a public speaking class on the Moorhead campus. His priorities include his family, faith and serving as a role model to young men in the Delta.

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