Ted Egger’s reason for keeping his old 989 number is a common one: So his parents don’t have to update their phones.
After Wednesday’s announcement he may have to break the news to his folks that it’s time to get a South Mississippi number.
More than four months after being elevated to Pearl River Community College’s interim head coach position, the Wildcats announced Wednesday they plan to make the move official during the school’s Nov. 14 board meeting.
“He has done an outstanding job for us on and off the field,” PRCC president Adam Breerwood said in a short video announcement on WRJW’s Facebook page. “We’re very excited about the future of our program.”
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Egger, 39, later acknowledged to the Sun Herald he had a hunch the news was coming, but that didn’t detract from the proud moment.
“It means a lot. It’s something I’ve been working toward and our staff has been working toward,” Egger said. “It’s good to see when you work hard good things happen.”
‘This is my job until I’m told differently’
Egger said when he took over the program he realized nothing was guaranteed but went about leading the program as if he didn’t have an interim tag next to his name.
“I took it as this is my job until I’m told differently,” he said. “Whether good or bad, that’s what we did.”
The announcement came just four days after the Wildcats topped ranked rival Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, 31-27, in Poplarville on homecoming.
After joining David Saunders’ staff last season, Egger took over the program on an interim basis in June following the abrupt May dismissal of Saunders.
On the heels of a disappointing 2-7 season and facing scholarship reductions and a post-season ban, all Egger did was lead the Wildcats to a 4-4 overall record and a 3-2 mark in the MACJC South Division with one game remaining.
“We gave Ted the reins and named him the interim back in the summer,” PRCC athletic director Jeff Long said. “They have done a tremendous job, he and his staff, on and off the field.”
In addition to progress academically, Long cited the Wildcats’ improved offense as a reason for the move.
According to NJCAA.org, the Wildcats’ 259 rushing yards per game rank seventh nationally. Their 23 rushing touchdowns are tied for eighth nationally. The team’s 423.1 yards per game are good enough for 18th, while PRCC’s 31.4 points per game are 31st.
Long also said the team is set to have 26 December graduates, “which has never happened before.”
Egger doesn’t expect much to change — except for maybe his phone number — now that the interim label is scratched off his office door.
“My main focus is this Saturday (at Copiah-Lincoln),” he said. “We have a great opportunity this Saturday and that’s where (our focus) needs to be.”
For PRCC to take a step in the MACJC ranks and breach the NJCAA rankings, the Wildcats will likely need to make inroads with local four-year universities. Where many of PRCC’s opponents boast transfers to and from powerhouses like LSU, Auburn and Alabama, the Wildcats’ biggest offseason addition was a quarterback from Kent State.
The Hornell, New York, native had previous coaching stints in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas and Michigan. Egger said his emphasis isn’t as much the logo on the helmet as much as what’s contained within it.
“I don’t know if me being from up north has impacted anything,” he said. “I think our biggest thing is just getting guys who fit what we do and fit our program. That’s how we’re going to be successful. I’m not too worried about that whole part of (recruiting).”
Egger added the high school coaches within PRCC’s district have already welcomed his staff with open arms.
“We have a lot of successful teams in our local district,” he said. “That’s been our main focus right now.”
PRCC FOOTBALL COACHES
- Goat Hale: 1924, 1926, 1933-38
- Dick Baxter: 1939-42, 1944
- L.W. Johnson: 1945
- James Wade: 1946-47
- T.D. “Dobie” Holden: 1948-66
- John Russell: 1967-73
- Harvey Seligman: 1974
- J.C. Arban: 1975-84
- Mike Nelson: 1985-90
- Willie Coats: 1991-94
- Keith Daniels: 1995-2000
- Scott Maxfield: 2001
- Tucker Peavey: 2002*
- Tim Hatten: 2002-12
- William Jones: 2013-15
- David Saunders: 2016
- Ted Egger: 2017-
*-Denotes did not coach a game