Pascagoula football legend Terrell Buckley is coming home.
Buckley told the Sun Herald Thursday that he has accepted a job on the Mississippi State football staff after spending the last two seasons as cornerbacks coach at Louisville.
Buckley described his family back home on the Coast as “ecstatic” about the news that he will return to his home state.
“My mom was screaming on the phone yesterday when I was going for the interview,” Buckley said. “I told her, 'You have to calm down. Nothing has happened yet.' They're very pumped. My sisters, everybody.”
Buckley will replace Tony Hughes, who served as safeties coach/recruiting coordinator at MSU before he was hired last month as the new head coach at Jackson State.
Buckley was one of the most active recruiters from an out-of-state program in Mississippi during his two years at Louisville. He lured former Pascagoula star receiver Jaylen Smith to Louisville and convinced D'Iberville safety Jacquelle Green to verbally commit to Louisville in September.
“I love the state of Mississippi. I made it a point no matter where I was, (at Akron) or Louisville.” Buckley said. “The first conversation that comes up is 'Can I go to Mississippi?' I have other recruiting areas like South Florida and Louisiana, but that's the one state I really wanted. From the Coast all the way to top, I've been up and down the state. I managed to learn the landscape.”
This will be Buckley's first job in the SEC. He served on the staff at Akron from 2012-13 for Terry Bowden before moving to Louisville to work for Bobby Petrino.
It's uncertain what Buckley's exact role will be on the staff or what area he will be tasked with recruiting, but he seems an ideal fit to replace Hughes, who helped tutor MSU's defensive backs and used his connections across the state to lure top talent to Starkville.
“Whatever (coach Dan Mullen) has in mind, I'm with it,” Buckley said. “I'll do whatever I have to do. If I have to put in more time recruiting the state of Mississippi, that will suit me well.”
Buckley was a member of the 1987 state championship football team at Pascagoula. He picked off 13 passes that season as a junior.
He was a star cornerback at Florida State, where he was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 1991. He won the Jim Thorpe Award that season as the nation's top college defensive back.
Buckley had a 14-year NFL career after he was selected in the first round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He was a member of the Super Bowl XXXVI champion New England Patriots.
Buckley hasn't resided in Mississippi since he graduated from Pascagoula High School in 1989.
“Like Lebron said, I'm coming home,” Buckley said.