Blount retires to focus on family, church
Longtime educator Joey Blount plans to focus on two of his favorite hobbies as he is retires with 31 years as a math teacher, coach and administrator.
“I plan to do a lot of what I am doing right now,” Blount said Sunday afternoon. “Sitting in this deer stand. I love deer hunting and I love to bass fish.
“I have several friends near where I live who have ponds. They let me fish so I take my little two man boat and pond hop.”
Blount was born and raised in Neshoba County. He went through K-12 grades at Neshoba Central. After high school, he attended East Central Community College. Then he went on to Mississippi State where he received a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree in education leadership.
He taught math and coached football at Hamilton High School, Morton High School and Newton County High School.
While at Newton County, he became assistant principal in 1998. Later, in 2001, he became principal at Neshoba Central High School, a position he held for 11 years.
“I worked with a lot of good people and good superintendents while I was principal at Neshoba Central,” Blount said. “That made it worthwhile. I enjoyed my years.
“Being principal at Neshoba Central is a hard job. You have around 1,000 students there and then multiply that by two with their parents. That’s a lot of people you have to deal with. It’s a busy school with a lot of things going on.
Blount said his 11 years made him the second longest-serving principal at Neshoba Central. “Mr. Hardy had 15 years and he is the longest-serving,” Blount said.
“I went to a lot of ballgames after school during that time. We (the administrators) would have to sit down at the beginning of a month and see who was going where,” Blount said.
That hasn’t changed.
“A week ago, the Cleveland Central bowling team came here to play us,” Blount said. “They said they passed the Neshoba Central soccer team headed to Cleveland to play their soccer team.”
Blount said his focus as principal was to provide discipline. He sought to create an atmosphere where students could learn and teachers could teach,
“I was about discipline and organization,” Blount said. “I may not have been the best academic principal. My philosophy was to have a disciplined environment for learning. It was very taxing.”
In 2012, Blount returned to the classroom as a math teacher. “Halfway through my first year back in the classroom, someone said, ‘Joey, I haven’t seen you smile so much in years,’” Blount said. “It was a different job.”
Also, Blount became the boys and girls bowling coach and his Rocket teams have been very successful. The girls have won five state championships and have been runners-up three times. The boys have won state once and have been runners-up twice.
“I was a coach at the start of my career and I still enjoy it,” Blount said. “But bowling is a different type of sport from football where it is dog-eat-dog.
“It’s a gentlemen’s sport. You do your best and wish your opponent well when they do their best. You want to win but it’s also about good sportsmanship. Some of our kids have become very good friends with the bowlers on other teams we have competed against,” Blount said.
The bowling team puts in a lot of practice time, especially during the season. And Blount kept up with everyone’s numbers, both in practice and during matches.
“I kept everyone’s average and that tells you what you have to work with,” Blount said. “Someone may bowl a great score one day. But if you watch, overall, they stay close to their average.”
The Rockets are 5-0 in their current season. Though he’s retired, Blount said he plans to stay in touch with the team for the rest of the season.
Coaching the bowling team also gave Blount and his family a lifetime sport. He and his wife Sheila, compete in the local leagues and go to tournaments,
“It has changed my family,” Blount said.
Blount officially retired on Dec. 31, but he won’t be going anywhere. The Blounts are active in their church, Spring Creek Baptist Church. He teaches a Sunday school class and they plan to keep putting in a lot of time there. He plans to teach math part-time in the fall and coach the bowling team.
The Blounts have two sons, Joseph and John. Both are youth ministers and both preached Sunday in their respective churches. There is also a grandson, which he plans to spend a lot of time with.
On Sunday, Blount killed a six-point right at dark.