Desoto County Sports

Northwest Mourns Passing of Coolidge Ball

Credit: Northwest Mississippi Community College sports information

Northwest Mississippi Community College joins the University of Mississippi in mourning the passing of Coolidge Ball, who passed away at the age of 71 earlier this week.

Ball coached men’s basketball for four years at Northwest from 1975-79, serving as an assistant coach with Northwest Sports Hall of Famer Kenneth “Cat” Robbins. During that span, the coaching duo of Robbins and Ball guided the Rangers to a combined 68-32 record, two MACJC runner-up finishes and the 1976-77 MACJC North Division title.

Ball left Northwest in 1979 to start up the Ball Sign Company in Oxford, but his basketball legacy lived on long after he stepped away from the game. Prior to Northwest, the Indianola native and Gentry High School alumnus signed a scholarship with Ole Miss in 1970, choosing the Rebels over other top schools in the nation. As a result, Ball became the first black student-athlete in any sport at Ole Miss.

In 1971, Ball was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team and played his first varsity season the following year. As a sophomore, Ball led the Rebels by averaging a double-double at 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game and was named to the All-SEC Second Team in 1972. He followed up with all-conference honors the following year and was a three-time United Press International honoree in each of his three varsity seasons.

During his career at Ole Miss, Ball scored over 1,000 points and helped the Rebels to three straight winning seasons. He was also chosen as the team’s MVP and team captain during this stretch.

Ball was inducted into the Ole Miss Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and was named an SEC Basketball Legend in 2005. He earned a spot on the Ole Miss Men’s Basketball All-Century Team in 2009 and was honored with a bronze stature on the Pavilion Plaza in 2021.

Ball’s obituary can be found here.

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