Ex-JCJC football, baseball coach Elmer Higginbotham dies

Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: shawn.wansley@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-07-28 10:33:55

 ELLISVILLE – Former Jones County Junior College head football coach and head baseball coach Elmer Higginbotham, 68, died on Tuesday afternoon at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg after a brief illness.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Coach Elmer Higginbotham,” said JCJC Athletic Director Katie Herrington. “He was a fine man, wonderful husband and father, and an outstanding coach. He meant so much to Jones County Junior College and we will all miss him tremendously.”

Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. on Thursday at Ellisville Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday at Ellisville’s First Baptist Church.

Higginbotham, who was elected to the 2011 JCJC Sports Hall of Fame Class, coached at JCJC from 1971-92. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Sept. 24 prior to JCJC’s football game against Co-Lin.

He was an assistant football coach from 1971-1987 and head football coach from 1988-91. He was also head baseball coach from 1971-88.

While serving as an assistant coach to Sim Cooley, the Bobcats won three state football championships and participated in the playoffs 12 times. He also helped the Bobcats go to the Junior Rose Bowl in 1977.

Higginbotham has coached in numerous postseason bowl games and coached several All-Star teams in football and baseball. The Louisville native and Noxubee County High School graduate was a three-sport letterman in high school, participating in football, baseball and basketball.

He earned a football scholarship to East Mississippi Junior College where he became an All-State player. He received his BS degree at Livingston University in Alabama and his ME at the University of Southern Mississippi.

He served as an assistant coach at East Mississippi and was the head coach at Leakesville High School, posting a 13-7 record in 1969-70. He then became offensive line coach at JCJC in 1971, where he served until becoming head coach in 1988.

Higginbotham was an active supporter of JCJC athletics, attending numerous sports events, including several road games. He supported the football team through advertisements and also donated two bricks to the brick walk at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.

He was an active member and deacon at Ellisville’s First Baptist Church, a member of the Ellisville Lions Club, was named Lion of the Year and was named a Melvin Jones Fellow by Lions Club International. He was a lifetime member of Masonic Lodge #161 and was an active member of the Gideons.

Survivors include his wife, Sandra, and daughters Michele Whittle of West Point and Mary Boleware of Ellisville and three grandchildren.

Sandra Higginbotham was an instructor at JCJC and retired in 1995. Whittle and Boleware are JCJC graduates. Whittle is an RN and Boleware is a physics instructor at JCJC.


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