There is no doubt Jerry Byrd is leaving the Neshoba Central basketball program better than he found it.

Byrd has announced his retirement after 10 seasons. He coached the boys team for all 10 seasons. This past season, he coached the girls team, too.

In his first three seasons, the teams won two games, then four games, then seven games. Then they won 17 games, started making the playoffs and even made it to the Class 5A championship game. This past year, the girls made it to the state semifinals.

“It’s just that time in life when I wanted to make a different decision,” Byrd said. “I have some grandchildren I want to spend some time with. I have a gym floor business with my son, and I want to spend some time with him.


“I have spent a lot of time with other people’s kids over the years. Now I am going to spend some time with mine. I just wanted to do some other things.”

Byrd announced his decision earlier this week on Facebook.

“I would have rather sat down and talked to my players first,” Byrd said. “But with us being out of school because of the coronavirus, we aren’t sure when we are going to be back. So that’s how I got it out.”

Byrd has been around basketball all his life. His father, Wayne Byrd, was a high school and college basketball coach. Jerry played college basketball and then has been involved in coaching high school basketball since 1985.

He became the head boys basketball coach at Kemper County in 2003. The next year, he coached for a year at Neshoba Central. That year, his father, who retired in 1998 at North Alabama, became the girls coach at Neshoba Central.

               After a year, Jerry returned to Kemper County for another year. His old coach at East Kemper, William Taylor, was then the athletic director of the Kemper County School District. Taylor asked him to come back. Byrd stayed one year and then took a teaching position at New Hope.

               In 2010, Byrd returned to Neshoba Central to coach the boys basketball team. His dad was still the coach of the Lady Rockets and the Lady Rockets were getting competitive. He built the team from scratch and turned them into a Class 5A state contender that made it to the state finals.

               “I have no regrets,” Byrd said. “It has been a good career; I am proud of the kids and appreciate all they did. It was a great situation.

               “A lot of credit goes to a lot of great kids and their parents, who supported us and allowed me to coach their kids the only way I knew how.”