Picayune native is inducted into Mississippi College’s Athletics Hall of Fame
Published 7:00 am Friday, April 13, 2018
Picayune native James “Jimmy” Price was inducted into Mississippi College’s Hall of Fame on April 7.
Price was a two-sport athlete, competing in football and track, during his four-year career with the Choctaws from 1977 to 1981.
“I was surprised and happy when I received the call about being inducted in the school’s Hall of Fame,” Price said.
He is a class of 1977 graduate of Picayune Memorial High School. During his time with the Maroon Tide, he played football under Head Coach Dewey Partridge and was also on the track team.
“During my senior year, I played on both sides of the ball, which was a really good experience for me. Overall, playing football for Picayune was a blast,” Price said.
With his prep career coming to an end, then Picayune assistant coach Clinton Tapper asked Price where he wanted to go to school, to which Price responded, “I want to go to a four-year school and play football.”
“After I said that, with the help of Tapper, I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to play football at Mississippi College,” Price said.
For the Maroon Tide, Price mainly played as a guard, but once he arrived at Mississippi College, the coaches assigned him as a center, a position he had never played.
“During the third game of my freshman year, the team’s center, who was a First-Team All-Conference, twisted his ankle and the coaches put me in his place. I had to quickly adjust to the new position that I was playing,” Price said. “One night during my freshman year, at about 2 a.m., I yelled ‘hike’ in the middle of my sleep. That tells you how football was always on my mind.”
During his second season with the Choctaws, Price was named to the All-Gulf Coast Team.
But it was during his junior year that Price and the Choctaws enjoyed success on the field. In 1979, Mississippi College’s football team won its first Gulf Coast Conference Championship. Once in the NCAA Division II playoffs, the team defeated the University of North Dakota in the quarterfinals but lost in the semifinals to eventual National Champions Delaware.
“That season was the most fun I have ever had playing football,” Price said. “We finished ranked number three in the nation and we also finished with the number one rushing offense in the country. To us, that meant that we were the best offensive line in the country.”
Growing up, Price said he looked up to his parents, because they encouraged him to do his best whether it was in sports or in life.
“My dad, who was a mechanic and a preacher on the weekends, and my mom, who was a clerk at a jewelry store, did not make a lot of money so I knew that in order for me to attend college, I had to get a scholarship,” Price said. “In order to obtain a scholarship, I worked hard on the field, in the weight room and I prayed and asked God to help me every day. If it wasn’t for God and my parent’s support and sacrifices, I would had never gotten the opportunity to play football at Mississippi College.”
For young athletes in Picayune and Pearl River County who have dreams of playing sports at the collegiate level, Price suggests setting a plan early in life and praying for God’s help. Because in the end, everything always works out the way it’s supposed to.
Today, Price is resident of Georgia.
But, no matter where he goes, he said anytime he wears Mississippi College gear, he always runs into a relative of one of his former teammates.
“I was in San Diego a couple of days ago and out of nowhere, a lady approached me and said she had relatives who attended Mississippi College. After further conversing with her, it turned out she knows three of my former teammates,” Price said. “My biggest highlight of my playing days definitely has to be all the friendships that I made over the years. Attending and playing football for Mississippi College was perfect for me. I received a tremendous education and I had the opportunity to play the sport that I love.”