High School Sports

A Coast coaching legend is returning to the game after 3 years in retirement

After three years in retirement, Buddy Kennedy decided he’d had enough of a break.

The Pass Christian School District announced Tuesday that Kennedy will return to his role of head boys basketball coach at Pass Christian High School after retiring at the end of the 2015-16 season.

“I never felt like I kind of completely walked away from (basketball) or anything,” Kennedy said Tuesday. “I’m excited for the opportunity to come back and particularly come back to Pass Christian, where I spent my entire career. It makes it that much more special.”

Kennedy, who will turn 59 in July, was the head coach at Pass Christian for 23 years, winning 519 games. His 2009 squad won the Class 3A state championship.

Pass Christian also won nine district titles, reached the state semifinals four times and the state title round twice (2009 and 2011) under Kennedy’s watch.

Kennedy admits that he’d had an eye on returning to coaching for a while, and it became quickly obvious that the return to his old job made a lot of sense.

“There were a lot of people in the community that kind of reached out to me,” he said. “I was considering it anyway. Having a lot of people that reached out helped make my mind up for me.”

During his three years of retirement, Kennedy spent time traveling with his wife to various places, including Disney World. One of his trips took him to Duke so he could he could take in a Blue Devils basketball game.

“I stayed in pretty close touch with the game,” Kennedy said. “I’ve been to a lot of basketball events.”

Although he’s only three years removed from his time as head coach at Pass Christian, he’ll have to familiarize himself with the players on the roster. The class of 2019 were freshmen during his last year on the job.

“I kind of kept up with the guys since I retired,” Kennedy said. “I’ve taken in a good many games and I feel like we’re going to get acquainted very quickly.”

Kennedy plans to get to work quickly for preparations for the 2019-20 season.

“I’m actually going to meet with (players) tomorrow and sit down with school officials and see what the availability of the gym will be each day,” he said.

Willie James stepped down as the Pass Christian head coach after three years in February. Pass Christian finished 19-10 under James during his first season in 2016-17, but the Pirates were a total of 18-37 over the last two seasons.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.