Wallace State’s athletic teams and facilities are renowned throughout the Southeast and the nation. The Wallace State Lions compete in Division I of the Alabama Community College Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association. With four Olympic medalists, six national championships, 15 ACCC All-Sports Trophies, numerous conference titles and hundreds of All-Americans, athletic excellence is a Wallace State tradition.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Phelps’ 34 points Paces Wallace State Men’s Basketball Past Trevecca Nazarene at Tom Drake Coliseum

HANCEVILLE--Wallace State guard Marese Phelps scored at will Monday night, resuming an early-season trend for the 6-foot-1 guard and the men’s basketball team. 

Phelps scored Wallace State’s first 11 points of the game, poured in seven 3-pointers on the night and finished with a game-high 34 as the Lions rolled to an 89-63 victory over Trevecca Nazarene University’s JV team at Tom Drake Coliseum. 

“I felt it was my responsibility to get us a good lead and help my teammates settle in,” Phelps said. “We were ready to go. Once I got going, the whole team seemed to go harder.” 

It was Wallace State’s second home win in three nights under first-year head coach John Meeks, whose team connected on 13 3-pointers. 

“Right now it’s all offense for us. We’ve made more 3-pointers in two games than it seems we have in practice all year. Our offense is there,” Meeks said. “We’ve got to step up the intensity defensively. Our guys have to buy into playing defense before worrying about offense. I did feel like we played better defensively in the second half, but I told them either we were going to play defense or practice after the game.” 

Behind Phelps’ early assault, Wallace State charged out to a 20-4 lead over the Trojans. The Lions (3-1) pushed the advantage to 39-26 at the half. 

Wallace State extended the cushion to 54-34 with 15:15 remaining in the game after Phelps drilled 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions. Trevecca Nazarene never got within 14 points the rest of the way. 

Phelps came to Wallace State with Meeks from Louisburg College (N.C.) in the offseason and through four games is averaging 29 points per game, by far the best output for the Lions. 

Javan Wells added 17 points to Wallace State’s attack Monday night, while Lazedrick Williams scored 10. Michael Glenn and Austin Collie each added six points. 

For Trevecca, Kevin Ohen led the way with 17 points. Bilal Abdul Raheem contributed 10 points.

Wallace State resumes its homestand Thursday at 7 p.m., hosting Northeast Mississippi College. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Wallace State Men’s Basketball Coach John Meeks, New-Look Lions Make Season Debut Friday on Road

HANCEVILLE – A new chapter in Wallace State men’s basketball history is set to unfold Friday as the Lions open the season behind new head coach John Meeks at Volunteer State in Gallatin, Tenn. 

Much has changed since the program reached unchartered territory last season by winning its first state championship, first National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 22 title and finishing fifth in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament.  

In fact, not a coach or player remains from the record-breaking season. 

Allen Sharpe, who led the Lions to a 32-5 record last year and to a 136-30 mark in five seasons, departed to be the head coach of the University of Arkansas at Monticello in May.   

Meeks, who guided Louisburg (N.C.) College to the NJCAA Division II Tournament last season, was hired as Wallace State’s coach in July. In his final season with the Hurricanes, the 27-year-old Meeks finished 29-7, won the NJCAA Region X Tournament and was named the 2010 District 15 Coach of the Year. 

Less than four months after he was hired, Meeks will make his Wallace State debut on the road.  

“There are strong program expectations here. As an institution, we want to duplicate the success that was experienced last year in the quickest way possible. As a coach, I have high expectations,” said Meeks, whose team features players from nine different states. “It’s good for expectations to be high. Our kids expect to win, but you will see us play better basketball in January and February than you do in November or December. There are going to be some growing pains along the way.” 

Meeks has assembled a roster that features 10 freshmen, including a couple of transfers who should log considerable minutes. 

“We are very, very young, which is unlike many Wallace State basketball teams from past remembrance. Our guys are going to have to be patient and trust in the system. We won’t start out easy. We have some tough, tough games to start out with, but that will test our maturity. We signed about 13 guys in a span of about three weeks. To have done that, I feel the roster is as complete as it could have been,” said Meeks, who grew up an avid North Carolina basketball fan. “The positive thing is we’ve already seen some strides in these guys. Hopefully, they’ll continue to work to get to where we need to be.” 

Wallace State has a pair of Alabama natives, Dora High’s Jo-Jo Walls and Austin’s Jay Watkins, on this season’s roster. 
Walls, a 6-foot-6 freshman guard, has battled a leg injury during the preseason, but should contribute once he returns to game shape in a couple of weeks. 

“Jo-Jo is an unbelievable kid. He was really starting to show signs of how good he was going to be and then he got injured. Hopefully, that won’t be too much of a setback,” Meeks said. “Late in the season, I can see Jo-Jo being a go-to-guy for us. He can do a lot of different things. He can be a role player, a pass-first player or a scorer. He has a lot of ability. He has a great basketball IQ.” 

Watkins joins the Lions after a stellar career at Austin. 

“Jay Watkins is probably one of the more active kids I’ve ever coached. He has a motor that doesn’t stop. For Jay, it’s going to be refining a position and determining exactly where he should play,” Meeks said. “I think he’s going to play a lot inside for us. He can do some good things down low. He’s very strong, does a great job rebounding and is great on ball press. He’ll make some contributions inside for us this year.” 

Early on, Meeks is banking on sophomore guard Maurice Phelps to bear a significant offensive and leadership role. Phelps accompanied Meeks to Wallace State from Louisburg College along with guard Martell Buie. 

Phelps played in the national tournament for Meeks last season. Buie was a Louisburg signee before the move to Hanceville, is a year removed from playing at Tennessee State and is the half brother of former Auburn star Marquis Daniels, who is now a reserve player for the Boston Celtics. 

“Maurice was one of my better players at Louisburg last year and did a very good job. He’s going to be counted upon to carry a big scoring load and be accountable from a leadership standpoint because he knows expectations,” Meeks said. “Martell played at a very high level in high school, comes from a great basketball pedigree and knows what to expect on the court.” 

Coastal Carolina transfer Tre Lee and 6-foot-8 sophomore center Luke Joseph are also expected to play significant roles this season. 

Wallace State makes its home debut on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 3 p.m. vs. West Georgia Technical College and plays seven home games before January. 

The conference home opener is Jan. 10 vs. Northwest Shoals.  

“Our guys are excited about starting. Our style of play is going to be much different from the Allen Sharpe days. We’re very up-tempo offensively and play a lot of guys, anywhere from 12 to 13 guys,” Meeks said. “We press and trap in the full court after every made basket and try to set the tone on the defensive end. We try to force our opponent to make ill-advised shots and get them out of their flow.” 

Off the court, Meeks has been impressed with the support he has already received from local businesses and fans. 

“Other than working with this team, I’ve spent a lot of time getting out in the community. I’ve tried to get local restaurants and hotels involved with our team and just get them to understand the impact we can have on each other,” Meeks said. “It’s not asking for anything except they come to a couple of games. In the future, I hope those people will jump on board with even more support.” 

Andrew Brown is Meeks’ assistant coach.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wallace State Lions Drop Exhibition Game 70-55 to #12 Lee University Out of the NAIA

By Tony Sisk-Cullman/Blount County Sports Examiner

Basketball is working its way around the corner for both high schools and colleges alike, and that is certainly no exception at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Alabama. The Lions geared up to take on the 2010 season with an exhibition game October 20 against NAIA Lee University out of Tennessee. Wallace State’s new head coach, John Meeks, has ties with the Flames where he was an assistant coach for three years, before going to North Carolina to take the head coaching position at Louisburg College, where he compiled a 51-15 record.

Meeks essential tools to achieve greatness on and off the court include: selflessness, loyalty, sacrifice, motivation, effort, discipline, enthusiasm, pride and confidence. At times on the night, Wallace State showed most of these tools. However, they were not enough as the walked away with a 70-55 loss at the hands of Lee University.

The Lions looked poised with enthusiasm, discipline and effort the first 10 minutes of the contest; with five different times Wallace holding the lead in the first half. With the Lions trailing 5-3, Marese Phelps hit consecutive shots to give Wallace State an 8-5 lead. Phelps swapped treys with the Flames Stephen McClellan, but Lee was able to work its way back into a tie with the Lions at 11-11 with 9:57 left in the half.

With Wallace State holding a slim 13-11 lead, the Flames reeled off 10-straight points, before the Lions new what hit them. Wallace seemed to have forgotten for a short stint about discipline and confidence on the floor. But pride, effort and motivation soon took over and the Lions continued to battle to a 34-21 half-time deficit. Wallace State clawed and scrapped their way through the second half, but could get no closer than 10 points.

Phelps led the Lions in scoring with 23 points, the only Wallace player in double-digits. Javan Wells followed with eight points, Lazedrick Williams added six points, Terrell Owens and Jay Watkins each had four points, Martell Blue, Wade Collie, Corey Hunter and Tre Lee each had two points, and Shamon Cox chipped in with three points.  

Lee University was led by Rico Cunningham with 21 points, Johnny Godette with 15 points, Eddie Toliver and McClellan each with eight points, Elizha Burdette and Jerel Blocker each with three, Matt Stillwell and Roy McFadgon each with two points and Pat Shaughnessy with five points.

Wallace State Future Foundation Celebrates Record Breaking Event

HANCEVILLE, Ala.—More than 100 new scholarships will be available to Wallace State Community College students in the coming year as a result of a record-breaking fundraising event put on Wednesday by the Wallace State Future Foundation. 

The Future Foundation’s annual Student Investment Luncheon raised $166,396 from its silent and live auctions, scholarship contributions and table sales. Through a U.S. Department of Education Strengthening Institutions grant that provides a perfect endowment match, dollar for dollar, the actual funds raised this year went twice as far.  

Wallace State Future Foundation President Fred Cespedes said he was thrilled to see such a large crowd in spite of the dreary weather. 

He cautioned the audience at the outset, “Remember you’re not here to get a bargain!” 
Attendance was double that of last year. The event was moved to the Wallace State Coliseum in 2009 to accommodate the increased participation. The facility reached near capacity this year, with more than 50 tables and 400 guests. 

“It is wonderful to have the support of so many willing to be part if the Wallace State student success agenda,” said Wallace State President Vicki Hawsey. “Think about how your investment will change a life.”   

“Our college is so important to this community and what you do to support us is so important to that which we do,” she said. “Your generosity assures that every student who wants to go to college will have an opportunity to learn. You allow us to help those students who need a second chance, those who need someone to believe in them, those who need to be taught how to dream, and those who have a dream to achieve it.  Our work culminates on this same coliseum floor, when we celebrate graduation.” 

Cespedes said that he and other board members were making it a priority this year to personally visit with area businesses to encourage them to establish scholarships or to support existing scholarships.  He announced five new and expanded scholarships this year:  the Cullman Savings Bank Scholarship, the FMI-Medical Scholarship for a Machine Tool Technology student, the Fred and Holly Cespedes Scholarship, the Richard Bunis Memorial Scholarship, and additional funding for the Oden Leadership Scholarship. Following the event, Cespedes received an additional $6,000 in Future Foundation pledges. 

The highest selling item at the auction was a set of four Alabama vs. Auburn football tickets with admission to the Scholarship Club Room, which went for $4,300. Roy Drinkard continued his tradition of winning Gracie Grissom’s pound cake, this time for $3,000.    

Other auction items included a signed Alabama National Championship game ball, college football tickets, precious jewelry, outdoor furniture and home furnishings, a Green Egg, stainless steel hot oil cooker, first class airline tickets, travel packages, art work, cinema passes, gift cards, baked goods, hunting equipment, a wide array of electronics and techno-gadgets including a laptop, Kindle and iPod, and the like.    

John Meeks, the new Wallace State head men’s basketball coach, made his debut as auctioneer and was a hit with the crowd. The Wallace State Cheerleaders, Singers and Jazz Band, served as wait staff. 

Those who wish to make an initial or additional contribution to the Wallace State Future Foundation have a number of options.  Foundation staff will work with donors on estate planning, setting up scholarships, naming a facility, sponsoring a seat in the Burrow Center Recital Hall, or purchasing an engraved brick at the entrance of the Burrow Center. Donations of any size to existing scholarships are always accepted. 

Members of the Future Foundation Board of Directors include President Fred Cespedes, Vice-President Gloria Williams, Secretary-Treasurer Phyllis Brewer, Norris Atchley, Evelyn Burrow, Nell Creel, Dale Greer, Donna Guthrie, Betty Leeth Haynes, Joe Holmes, Billy Jackson (Immediate Past President), Dr. Lance Nail, Shirley Quattlebaum, and ex-officio members Dr. Philip Cleveland, and Dr. Vicki Hawsey.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meeks Named Head Coach of WSCC Men's Basketball

HANCEVILLE, Ala.--John Meeks has accepted the position as men’s head basketball coach at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, President Vicki Hawsey announced this week.

“I am confident that Coach Meeks will continue to move our program forward, building on the outstanding success of Coach Allen Sharpe,” Dr. Hawsey said.

Meeks joins Wallace State from Louisburg College, where his overall record since 2008 was 51-15. During the 2009-2010 season, the Hurricanes were NJCAA Region X Tournament champions, and advanced to the Final Eight of the National Tournament. With a record that year of 29-7, Meeks was named 2010 District 15 Coach of the Year.

“Allen did a great job and left some major shoes to fill,” said Meeks. “Wallace State has a first class program in athletics, academics, and in the community. The sky’s the limit to what we can accomplish here.”

Sharpe took over as head coach at the University of Arkansas at Monticello in May after five years at Wallace State. During his tenure, he established a 136-30 record and led the Lions their first NJCAA National Tournament appearance, where they finished fifth. The Lions enjoyed a perfect season in 2008-2009 and were ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Meeks said he’s already hit the ground running, working on recruiting players to fill available slots on the team. One of his strengths is recruiting outstanding talent. Ten of his former players advanced to professional participation, and a number have received All-American, All-Conference and All-Region honors.

His experience has included instruction, and he considers himself not only a coach but also a teacher, stressing that student-athletes remember the reason for attending college first must be academic preparation leading to a degree.

The elements Meeks believes are necessary to create a winning team are these: an intolerance of selfishness, team, loyalty, sacrifice, motivation, effort, discipline, enthusiasm, pride and confidence.

In his “Guidelines for Success”, Meeks’ states: “The difference between true confidence and cockiness is hours of hard work and practice. We will gain confidence as the season progresses at a faster rate than anyone else because we will outwork them every day.” He asks players to “exude a passion for perfection” but “not to play with fear of doing something wrong”, rather to “play with confidence and enjoy the feeling.”

Prior to Louisburg, Meeks served three years as assistant coach at NAIA Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. During his final season there, the Flames finished 33-2 with a Southern States Athletic Conference Championship and an Elite Eight finish at the NAIA National Tournament. His experience also includes serving as Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Martin Methodist College and as assistant men’s basketball coach and head Men’s Junior Varsity Basketball Coach at Bluefield College in Virginia.

In eight years of collegiate coaching he accumulated more than 200 wins with six national tournament appearances.

He holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Houston, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Bluefield College.

For more information about Wallace State men’s basketball, visit http://www.wallacestate.edu/.