For Pearl River Hall of Fame inductee Nick Smith, Pearl River was the right place at the right time

Published 4:39 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

By PRCC Athletics


As a senior at Purvis High School, the recruitment process that led Nick Smith to Pearl River Community College was easy and led Smith to the right place at the right time.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Smith, a former All-Region and All-Conference baseball player, will be inducted into the Pearl River Community College Athletics Hall of Fame on July 26 at the Hollywood Casino in Bay St. Louis. The 2024 induction class will include football and soccer’s Jack Byrd, football and basketball’s Emil Jones, tennis’ Pamela Miller Munger and soccer’s Walt Thomas. The 2024 recipient of the Spirit of a Wildcat award will be Marjory and Bobby Thrash.

“I am honored to be a member of the Hall of Fame along with the good athletes, coaches and staff members who are being inducted and have been inducted,” Smith said. “It is an honor I am proud of and can tell my kids. People might think it is just Pearl River, but once you go there, it is more than a community college; it is a place to cherish and be proud to be a member of the Hall of Fame.

“Every time I think back to baseball, it goes back to PRCC. Pearl River is where I loved and enjoyed playing baseball the most. It was a close-knit community. You loved playing with your friends; overall, it was a great experience.”


Pearl River head coach Jamie McMahon did not have to travel far to find the former All-State performer. During his sophomore and junior seasons, Smith was a member of Purvis’ back-to-back state championship teams.

“It was a simple recruiting process at the time due to the protection list. During my senior year, Coach Mc walked up to me at an academic awards banquet and asked where I was going to play ball next year. I told him I had no idea, so he said, ‘I will sign you next week.'” Smith said. “I am glad the protection list was there because I ended up in the right place.

“I was part of a lot of great teams at Purvis. A lot of guys I played with at Purvis were at Pearl River as well. It was an easy transition for me to go to Pearl River. It was not a tough decision at all.”


Smith had an easy transition from Purvis to Pearl River. He found the size of the campus and the friendliness of the faculty and staff helped him succeed on and off the baseball field.

“You always have some nerves and mixed emotions when you go to a new place. Pearl River was just like high school in a good way,” Smith said. “Very small classroom size, not in an auditorium class like Division I schools.

“Everyone was very personable, and teachers got to know you. It was a good school. I enjoy learning. I loved it there, the school part of it. Not intimidating at all, it was a very good experience for me.

“Coach McMahon was big on grades and made sure we were going to class. That is an important part of being a player, not just on the field; you need to succeed off the field, or you don’t get to play. Not only do you play and have fun, you have serious things to do before that.”

Smith also found success on the diamond during his freshman year at The River. As a freshman, Smith batted .312 with 39 RBI, nine doubles and 12 stolen bases.

“Going from high school to junior college, you see a lot of those guys in high school but not as frequently. The talent level shrinks,” Smith said. “The same when you move to Division I, they are good ball players all the time. You are going to have a challenge in every at-bat. You are seeing great talent every day.”

Smith took a leap during his sophomore season. As a team captain, Smith hit .394 with 42 stolen bases, six home runs, three triples and 13 doubles on a Pearl River squad that won 39 games and was runner-up in the Region 23 Tournament. Smith’s 42 stolen bases still stand as PRCC’s single-season record.

“I have so many great baseball memories. Playing in the conference tournament during my sophomore year is one of my favorites. We all had a good tournament,” Smith said. “We ended up losing to Meridian in the final, which we hated.

“The rivalries between us and Meridian and LSU Eunice. Eunice beat us in the regional that year. They were always hard-fought games. That tournament was a dogfight until the end. As a player, you want to play the best teams and play them well. That is probably my greatest memory of Pearl River baseball, the entire regional tournament.”

Pearl River helped mold Smith and his teammates and prepare them for life after The River.

“Pearl River was a good place to give you time to grow up. It has some restrictions but lets you get out there and mature a lot and not throw you out into the world. I am very grateful for my time at PRCC; PRCC molded and shaped a lot of us.

“The coaches taught us how to not only be baseball players but men as well, to grow up, and you had to grow up quickly.”


Smith signed with the Southern Miss baseball team after playing at Pearl River. During his two years at Southern Miss, Smith served as a defensive sub or pinch runner. His time in Hattiesburg came as a Golden Eagle’s 2009 College World Series team member, scoring against Texas in their opening game.

“I was part of the World Series team. We had an incredible run against Georgia Tech and Florida in the Regional and Super Regional,” Smith added. “I got to experience the World Series. Not a lot of people get to experience that. I was grateful for that.

“I actually got to score a run at the World Series against Texas. That was one of my best memories, sliding into home against Texas. It is something I will never forget.”

Smith said his experience at Pearl River helped prepare him for his time at Southern Miss.

“Pearl River did everything it was supposed to to prepare me for that. I played the role that the coaches thought I should play,” Smith said. “It was a great experience. I love Southern Miss; I met a lot of great people there.”

Smith graduated from Southern Miss in 2010 with a degree in Construction Engineering Technology. Smith is a salesperson with Magnolia Construction Supply in Sumrall. He also keeps connected with former Pearl River teammates. Smith and former teammate Alex Riser and his father Dr. James Riser own two Salad Station franchises in Hattiesburg.

Smith and his wife, Logan, reside in Sumrall with their two children, Evie and Niko.

Sponsorship packages are available for both the banquet and golf tournament.

To secure your sponsorship package or donate to the event, contact Mary Alice Chandler at or 601-403-1193.

Know a former Wildcat who you believe should be considered in the future? Nominate by visiting or visiting and clicking the nomination form link at the top of the page.

For the latest on Pearl River Community College athletics, follow us on X (@PRCCAthletics) and Facebook (PRCCAthletics).