Robertson credits JCJC with success both on and off the field

Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: shawn.wansley@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2010-09-14 14:10:44

 By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – Dr. Joe-Michael Robertson has accomplished a great deal so far in his young life.

But he looks back at his time at Jones County Junior College as being right at the top as far as lifetime memories.

“As I look back on it, to me more than the games, records and rewards, it’s more about the camaraderie we shared as a team,” said Robertson, who was a star football player at JCJC in 1993-94. “You hear about that so much, but whether we were in the dorm room or hanging out in the cafeteria or playing ping pong in the game room or those late nights in study hall or, obviously, out on the field sweating and bleeding together, the camaraderie and love we had for each other is really what stands out to me.”

Robertson, who was an All-American, All-State and All-Region 23 performer for the Bobcats, has been selected for induction into the 2010 Class of the JCJC Sports Hall of Fame. Robertson, former Bobcat football star Mike McClellan and former JCJC basketball standout Carlos McDaniel, comprise this year’s class.

The men will be inducted during the annual Hall of Fame Dinner at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Ronald Whitehead Advanced Technology Center in the Howard Technology Park. They will be recognized during halftime of the JCJC vs. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College football game on Saturday at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field. Kickoff for the game is 7 p.m.

Robertson was an ‘old school’ player because he played both offense and defense.

“I played tight end and defensive end,” he said. “I enjoyed playing defense and going after the quarterback and occasionally catching a pass or two on offense.”

Robertson and the Bobcats enjoyed a great deal of success during his two years at Jones. In his first season, the Bobcats would play for a state championship.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “Coming into the season, nobody knew what to expect out of the Bobcats. We had a losing record the season before and in our first game, we lost to Holmes. We had two tough opponents coming up after that in nationally ranked Northwest and Pearl River. We beat both of those guys and began to get some momentum.

“We adopted the slogan, ‘We Believe.’ We got wristbands, sweat pants and sweat shirts made. We continued that success and went on to the state championship game.”

The Bobcats, under the direction of head coach Parker Dykes, won their final nine regular season games and traveled to Mississippi Delta to play the Trojans for the state championship.

The game was tied 14-14 after regulation. Delta got the ball first in overtime, scored a touchdown and converted the extra point. The Bobcats then got the ball, scored and elected to go for the two-point conversion and the victory.

However, Delta stopped the run about six inches from the goal line and Trojans prevailed, 21-20.

“We played well, but came up a little short,” Robertson said.

The Bobcats were rewarded with an invitation to the Texas Shrine Bowl in Tyler, Texas, where they faced national power Navarro Junior College (Texas). The game ended in a 20-20 tie and Robertson had a blocked extra point in the game.

“We got to take a great trip out to Texas and the game was nationally televised,” said Robertson. “It was the first time for our guys to ever be on national television. It was a great trip and a fantastic season.”

Robertson was named Honorable Mention All-State as a freshman.

“I tell folks that was probably because we had such great players in the defensive line,” he said. “They didn’t block me very much and I was able to get some of the stats the others could not.”

In Robertson’s sophomore year, the Bobcats would have another excellent season, posting an 8-2 record. However, they would miss out on the playoffs.

“We were coming off a great season and we had played for the state championship, so expectations were high,” said Robertson. “We played well and we were ranked very high in the nation. We played Hinds and we were actually winning late in the game. But they ran a kickoff back (for a touchdown) and beat us.

“It was devastating and we ended up losing our last game. But we had a fantastic season.”

Robertson received numerous honors after the 1994 season.

He was chosen as an All-American, All-Region and All-State defensive player and was chosen as the NJCAA’s Male Athlete of the Year for that season. He was named an Academic All-American and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa. He also competed in the MACJC All-Star game in 1994.

“I guess I had a lot of folks helping with a lot of those honors and I certainly appreciate that,” he said. “It goes back to my teammates and we had some fantastic players. I appreciate all those guys and all of the great times we had.”

There was no question Robertson was going to come to school at JCJC. He was a star athlete across town at South Jones High School.

“I grew up just a few miles from Jones,” he said. “I remember some late nights listening to the (Maroon Typhoon) band playing on campus. I could hear them through the woods. I dreamed about becoming a Bobcat.

“My dad played here in the early ‘70s and I had two brothers follow me here, so it’s certainly a family tradition. My mom currently teaches here, so we are definitely Bobcats through and through.”

After graduating from Jones, Robertson attended Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and received his doctorate in Pharmacy.

He returned back to Jones County and purchased Catfish One in 2000. He has overseen the company grow from one to over 40 restaurants across the southeastern United States. In 2004, Catfish One was selected as the Small Business of the Year by the Economic Development Authority of Jones County. Also that year, Robertson was awarded the inaugural Cornerstone Humanitarian Award by the National Restaurant Association, which honors restaurant owners for the contributions to communities.

In 2005, Catfish One was selected by the Mississippi Business Journal as a member of the “Fast Forty,” honoring the restaurant as one of Mississippi’s fastest growing businesses.  In 2006, Robertson was chosen by the Mississippi Business Journal as one of the “Top 40 Under 40” business leaders in the state.

Robertson credits the foundation he received at JCJC for helping him to become successful in the business world.

“Jones has been a great platform for me to be able to launch out and have a great football career at Samford, as well as a great academic career,” he said. “It enabled me to come back home and do something I love, which is serving people. It’s been fantastic.”

Robertson has been actively involved in local church and youth activities for years.

He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children – Josie, Neeley and Tristyn.

 

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