Hinds CC to Induct 5 Into SHOF, Recognize Alumni Honorees
Hinds Community College will induct 5 into the Hinds Sports Hall of Fame and recognize Foundation/Alumni honorees at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 19 as part of the annual Homecoming festivities.
Being inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame are Celeste Bryant Bramlett of Madison, Jeff Henderson of McAlmont, Ark., James Michael Smith of Florence, Fred Taylor of Crystal Springs and Lee Toney of Mount Olive.
Also being honored are Jimmy Morton of Brandon, Alumnus of the Year; Alexander Gandy of Utica, Young Alumnus of the Year; Jackie Granberry of Raymond, Alumni Service Award recipient and Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame, and Adam Jenkins Jr. of Madison, Foundation/Alumni Hall of Fame.
The recognition will be at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus. Admission is free and the public is invited.
Hinds will play Itawamba Community College at 7 p.m. at Joe Renfroe Stadium. The Homecoming Court will be presented.
Celeste Bryant Bramlett
Soccer and Softball, 1998- 2000
Celeste Bryant Bramlett came to Hinds in 1998 and made her mark as a dual-sport athlete for the women’s soccer and softball programs.
Following a highly successful athletic career at Brandon High School, Bramlett signed an athletic scholarship with Hinds Community College to continue her success on the soccer and softball fields in Raymond.
Bramlett was a member of Hinds’ inaugural women’s soccer team in fall 1998 led by former Head Soccer Coach Patti Johnson. During her two years as the central defender for the Lady Eagles Soccer Team, Bramlett helped guide the Lady Eagles to 2 MS Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Championships, 2 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 23 Championships and helped set the stage for a dominant start for the Hinds women’s soccer program.
Under former Head Softball Coach Terri Black, Bramlett played third base for the Lady Eagles during their MACJC State and NJCAA Region 23 Championship run in 1999 and was a major part of the success of the program. During her years as a student-athlete at Hinds, Bramlett earned many honors. She was named to the NJCAA All-Region Team in both softball and soccer and was selected as an NJCAA All-American in soccer.
Additionally, Bramlett was named an NJCAA Academic All-American during both her 1998 and 1999 years and was selected to Who’s Who Among American Junior Colleges. Capping off her athletic career at Hinds, she received the Hinds Eagle Award.
After leaving Hinds, Bramlett attended the University of Southern Mississippi where she graduated with a degree in Health and Human Science in 2002. She then returned to her hometown of Brandon where she taught science and coached soccer and track for 12 years. Bramlett was part of two state championship track teams as an assistant coach and led the Lady Bulldogs soccer team to the school’s first Girls Soccer State Championship in 2012 as their head coach. Bramlett was named the Brandon High School, Clarion-Ledger and MS Association of Coaches Coach of the Year in 2012.
In 2015, Bramlett was hired as the Assistant Athletic Director at Madison Central High School and is now in her ninth year overseeing all sports, girls and boys. The athletic department has been the recipient of the prestigious “6A All Sports Award” four times, an award given annually to the high school with the most successful athletic program in each class of the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
Academically, Bramlett obtained her master’s degree in 2008 and her specialist degree, both in in Interscholastic Athletic Administration, from William Carey University in 2022.
Bramlett is 1 of 2 athletic directors in MS, and the first female, who has obtained the Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). In 2021, Bramlett was awarded the “State Award of Merit” for MS through the NIAAA. This award is given in recognition of outstanding leadership and personal commitment to the values of interscholastic athletics. She currently serves as Mississippi’s state coordinator for certification for athletic directors through the NIAAA.
Bramlett lives in Madison with her husband Bubba and their daughter Sadie.
Jeff Henderson of McAlmont, Ark., came to Hinds in 2008 and made his mark as a member of the Track & Field team.
During his high school career, he won the long jump at the 2007 Arkansas Activities Association Class 6A state high school track and field championships with a 7.29m jump, followed by a 7.32m jump at the 2007 Arkansas Meet of Champions. Since 2007, Henderson has held the Arkansas high school decathlon record in the 100-meter dash with his 10.84 run.
After high school, Henderson signed with Hinds CC where he became a decorated 5-time National Champion and National Junior College Athletic Association All-American. Specifically, he became a NJCAA Division I 2008 Indoor National Champion (Long Jump), 2008 Outdoor National Champion (Long Jump) and 2009 Outdoor National Champion (Long Jump and 4x100 meter relay).
His success continued as he finished his collegiate career at Florida Memorial University and Stillman College. He competed in the 2010 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships, 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the 2013 NCAA Division II Men’s Outdoor Championships, winning the long jump and 100-meter dash titles.
In his professional career, Henderson has competed all over the world, winning gold medals in both the 2016 Olympics and 2016 Pan-Am games in Toronto, Canada. In 2019, he won the silver medal in the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) in Dora Qatar. Henderson also won the bronze medal at the 2018 Continental Cup in Ostrava, the silver medal at the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships and set the long jump record at the 2014 Adidas Grand Prix.
Additionally, he has been named the IAAF Diamond League Champion four times and added a silver medal to his collection at the 2019 Outdoor World Championships.
His biggest and most prized accomplishment is starting a foundation in his name to help with the cure of Alzheimer’s Disease, which his mother suffers from.
James Michael Smith
Head football coach 2003- 2008, Assistant football coach 1987-2002, Head track and field coach 1987-1992
J. Mike Smith, as he is known, came to Hinds in 1987, where he began his nearly 22-year career as an assistant football coach, head football coach and head track and field coach.
Smith of Florence compiled a 30-26 (.536 winning percentage) record as the Hinds head man. He won two South State Championships as the Eagles head coach, including 2003 when he was named Coach of the Year for 2003-2004 by the MS Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC).
He was a part of six MACJC state championships as a Hinds assistant. Smith coached the offensive line when the football team won state championships in football in 1988, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2002.
He also was the head track coach at the same time when he was coaching the offensive line for the football team from 1987-1992. During the 1987 and 1988 track seasons, he coached the team to back-to-back state titles.
As head football coach he won the South State Championship in 2003 and was the runner up in 2004. As a football coach he coached in the Mid-American Ball Bowl (1988), Mineral Water Bowl (1994), Texas Shriners Bowl (1995), Golden Isle Bowl (1997) and the MS Bowl (2000).
Coach Smith was a cornerstone rock in the foundation of the glory years of Hinds football through the late ‘80s, the ‘90s and the early 2000s. He is known throughout the football world as a tough, hard-nosed coach who consistently got the best of his players. He was also very skilled at teaching the concepts and techniques required to be a good lineman, evidenced by the number of players he coached who went on to play at major National College Athletic Association Division I football teams and professional teams.
During Coach Smith’s first year of retirement, he coached at Jones County Junior College. After leaving Jones County Junior College, he took a year off and then accepted part-time positions and was able to use his knowledge coaching at some of the local high schools in Hinds and Rankin counties, which included St. Andrews, Florence High School and Morton High School.
The highlight of the last few years has been sharing the football field and coaching with his sons including Jay, Jared and Hunter Smith. He is married to Muse Center Director Tammy Smith. They also have two daughters, Jennifer and Brittany, and 12 grandchildren. They reside in Florence.
Jackson native Fred Taylor came to Hinds Community College in 1994 and started his collegiate career at the quarterback position for the Hinds football team.
After graduating from Murrah High School in 1994, Taylor was a member of the 1994 and 1995 football teams at Hinds. Taylor played a significant number of minutes for the 1994 team that had a 11-1 record. The team won the South Division championship, the state/Region 23 championship and the Mineral Water Bowl Champions in Excelsior, Mo. The final ranking was No. 3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) that year.
In 1995, Taylor led the Hinds football team to a repeat South Division Championship, a repeat State/Region 23 Championship and an appearance in the National Championship game in the Shriner’s Bowl in Tyler, Texas. He led the offense with a wide-open attack that set multiple records for offense that still stand today.
Taylor is currently first in the Hinds football record book in passing yards in a season with 2,381, third in total offense with 2,451 and fourth total offense for his career with 3,281 yards.
Other than career total offense, the other two records were etched in the record book during the 1995 season, where he was named NJCAA Player of the Year, College Sports Player of the Year, and was a NJCAA All-American.
After his time at Hinds was completed, Taylor transferred to Texas Christian University to play for the Horned Frogs and later graduated from Belhaven College, now Belhaven University, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Away from the football field, Taylor is the founder and president of Imagine Dream Believe Community Development Corporation, an organization committed to providing services to individuals and families through charitable emergency relief, youth educational programs, scholarships, arts and access to the needed resources. Taylor currently resides in Crystal Springs.
Jackson native Lee Toney began his preparatory career at McCluer Academy in Jackson before making his way to Hinds in 1981 to earn a spot on the baseball team where he put together the greatest offensive season in Hinds Community College baseball history.
In spring 1982, Toney broke school records with a .525 batting average, hit a record 25 homeruns and drove in 83 RBI in his first season with Hinds. In spring 1983, he added 30 RBI and batted .296 for a total of 33 homeruns, 113 RBI and a .415 batting average over the course of his career, making him Hinds’ single season and career homerun and RBI record holder.
During his time at Hinds, he earned the nicknames “the next Babe Ruth” and the “Sultan of Swat” for his outstanding performance at the plate. A former team member described him as “the best hitter I have ever played with or against.” His homerun record is even more impressive because the Hinds ballpark was larger than most of the junior college parks in the area at the time. His wife, Sondra, said, “Lee had such determination to win that he refused to strike out. Pitchers learned that their best bet was to intentionally walk him.”
Toney’s work ethic and commitment to success led him to be a consistent top poultry producer for McCarty Farms and Tyson Foods.
He passed on his talents and knowledge of how to play the game to younger players, coaching several boys’ baseball teams and girls’ softball teams and taking them to district, state and national championships. The Magee boys’ baseball team that he coached was the first team from Magee to represent Mississippi in the Dixie Youth AAA World Series.
As a grandfather and coach, Toney is continuing to influence young people in baseball and in the life lessons that it teaches.
Toney and his wife, Sondra, share two children, Laura Smith (Matt) and Curt Toney, and three grandchildren.