Men's Basketball Searches for Assistants
April 13, 1998
OXFORD, Miss. -- University of Mississippi Athletic Director Pete Boone has recommended the hiring of Eric Bozeman and Marc Dukes as assistant coaches for the Ole Miss Rebel basketball program. The recommendations, made on Monday, are pending approval of the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning.
Bozeman comes to Ole Miss from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Ark., having served on the school's basketball staff since 1991. He took over as the head coach of Henderson State's program in 1993, which was the school's first year in NCAA Division II, and compiled an overall record of 71-67 in five seasons. In 1996-97, Bozeman guided Henderson State to a 20-8 overall record and a 9-3 mark in the Gulf South Conference. The 20-win season was Henderson State's first since 1981-82. This year, he led the Reddies to a second consecutive 20-win season (20-9 mark) and a 7-5 Gulf South Conference record. Henderson State also became the first school from the state of Arkansas to be ranked in the NCAA Division II Top 25 poll.
"I am excited that Eric has decided to join my staff here at Ole Miss," said Rebel head coach Rod Barnes. "Eric has seven years of head coaching experience and is a proven recruiter. He is a bright, young coach who can come in and relate to our players right away. Eric brings loyalty, passion, commitment and an intense love of the game to Ole Miss, and he will be a valuable asset to the program. He is a tremendous person, and is an outstanding addition to the Ole Miss family."
A 1981 graduate of Arkansas Tech University, Bozeman was an assistant coach at Henderson State for two seasons (1991-93), before being elevated to the head coaching position in 1993. Prior to his stint at Henderson State, Bozeman served a dual role as athletic director and head basketball coach at Shorter Junior College from 1989-91, and from 1981-89, he was an assistant coach under Charles Ripley at Parkview High School, his alma mater. He graduated from Parkview High in 1977.
During his collegiate playing career at Arkansas Tech, Bozeman led the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference (AIC) in scoring with a 20.9 average and was a unanimous All-AIC selection as a senior in 1981. He still ranks No. 10 on the Arkansas Tech all-time scoring list with 1,792 points, and his name also appears in the top 15 on the career charts for field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws made and free throws attempted. Bozeman received his Master's degree from Henderson State in 1986.
Bozeman, 39, is married to the former Felicia Boone, and the couple has one son, Solomon who is 10 years old. The couple is expecting their second child this week. In addition to his coaching duties, Bozeman has worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Clark County, United Way, Arkadelphia Parks and Recreation, Kappa Alpha Si and the St. Paul Men's Day Committee. He is also member of Men United, a new Christian men's organization.
A 1977 graduate of Mississippi College, Dukes joins the Ole Miss basketball staff after a very successful five-year stint as head coach of the Northwest Mississippi Junior College men's basketball program. In his five seasons, Dukes led Northwest to a combined record of 129-31, two National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament appearances, two Region 23 titles, two state championships and three straight MACJC north division crowns. This year, Dukes guided the Rangers to a 29-7 record and the program's first-ever final four appearance at the national tournament. Northwest finished fourth in the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan. For his efforts, Dukes was named the Region 23 Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.
"I am thrilled to have Marc join my staff," Barnes said. "He brings strong credentials to the job here at Ole Miss. He knows the state of Mississippi, and he is well respected in the state. Marc is also familiar with Ole Miss and the Ole Miss family. He has many years of experience in the coaching profession and is a loyal person, hard worker and a person who I enjoy being around. Marc will be an outstanding ambassador for not only this program but also the University."
In the 1996-97 season, Dukes led Northwest to a 28-4 record and its second straight state title, and in 1995-96, he guided the Rangers to a school-record 30 wins (30-6 record) and the program's first appearance in the NJCAA National Tournament since 1980. The 1995-96 squad finished sixth in the national tournament. In addition to his Region 23 Coach of the Year honor this year, Dukes was also earned the region's honor following the 1995-96 season. He was named to MACJC Coach of the Year in 1994, 1996 and 1997 and the MAC Coach of the Year in 1996 and 1997. In his five seasons at Northwest, Dukes also had four players receive All-America honors, including Ole Miss signee Marcus Hicks. Hicks became Northwest's first-ever All-America first team selection following the 1997-98 season.
Prior to his time at Northwest, Dukes coached for two years (1991-93) at Pineville High School in Pineville, Ky. Dukes also served as a history teacher and coordinator of the Title V program at Pineville High.
From 1986-91, Dukes compiled an 87-53 record at Jones County College in Ellisville, Miss. He led the Bobcats to five consecutive winning seasons and three Region 23 Tournament appearances. Dukes also led Jones to a school-record 21 victories in the 1990-91 campaign. During his time at Jones, Dukes was elected president of the Mississippi Junior College Basketball Affairs Committee in 1991 and was honored in 1989 by the Mississippi Association of Coaches for 15 years of service.
In 1985-86, Dukes was an assistant men's basketball coach at Louisiana College in Pineville, La. Prior to that, he was the head coach and history instructor at South Jones High School from 1977-85. For his efforts in the 1984-85 season, Dukes was named the Southern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and WDAM-TV Coach of the Year. He led South Jones High to four top 10 state rankings and two appearances in the Mississippi State Tournament, including a runner-up finish in 1985. Dukes' other coaching experience came as a graduate assistant at Mississippi College in 1976 and 1977 and as the boys' head coach at Raleigh High School in Raleigh, Miss., from 1973-76.
Dukes is married to the former Diana Forsyth, and the couple has two children, Marcus and Bethany.
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