Ruffin named Neshoba football coach
Shannon Ruffin is set to lead a new era as the head football coach at Neshoba Central High School, marking an exciting chapter for the Rockets’ football program.
Coach Ruffin brings a wealth of experience and a stellar track record to his new role. He has been an integral part of the coaching staff at Neshoba Central for almost a decade, having served as the Defensive Coordinator since 2014.
“Being a head football coach is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. I felt like I was called to do this,” Ruffin said. “I want to continue to build relationships that will in turn cause players to want to be successful. I want to be a role model and lead them in the direction they need to go and make sure that our athletes are not only taken care of on the field but they are also prepared for life.”
His vision is to create a “championship caliber environment and we want to take pride in everything we do as far as how we dress, go to class, and attend school,” he said.
Ruffin’s dedication and leadership have contributed significantly to the success of the football program, culminating in the team's impressive achievements, including the 2019, 2020, and 2021 Region 2-5A titles.
“We want to win as many ballgames as we can and make a run towards the state championship,” Ruffin said. “We have been a team that has been to the playoffs for the last six years, and I don’t want to end that run. I want our kids to participate in a state championship and bring that back to our community.”
Apart from his coaching responsibilities, Ruffin has been recognized for his outstanding contributions to education. As the 2015-2016 Neshoba Central High School Teacher of the Year and two-time recipient of the Region 2-5A Staff of the Year award in 2019 and 2021, he exemplifies excellence both in the classroom and on the field.
“We are going to have expectations for high academic standards,” Ruffin said. “You cannot be a student athlete without being a student first. As we create more opportunities for students to exceed in the classroom, then opportunities will become more available for them to move to the next level to play in college. We are trying to make sure we instill some discipline and communicate with teachers, so they are successful in the classroom.”
Notable highlights of Coach Ruffin's coaching career include his roles as the Head Junior High Girls Basketball and Head Track and Field Coach, showcasing his versatility and commitment to fostering a well-rounded athletic program.
In 2021, he had the honor of being selected as the Magnolia All-Star Defensive Coordinator, followed by the prestigious role of MAC Bernard Blackwell North All-Star Football Coach in 2022.
His coaching philosophy goes beyond the game, as he actively identifies the needs of individual students, working tirelessly to help each child develop to their fullest potential. Coach Ruffin's dedication to creating an engaging and supportive learning environment has earned him the respect and admiration of students, colleagues, and the broader community.
“I am a teacher first,” Ruffin said. “When I show up to work every day, I want to take care of my teaching duties and make sure that I am supervising my students and helping them to learn, both athletes and nonathletes alike. I believe that being a teacher creates opportunities to build relationships with kids that are doing well and the ones that are struggling. It’s a part of who I am and what is expected of me as an educator.”
He added, “As time goes on, we want to continue participating in Diamond Dreams and be there for special needs students. Whatever the community needs from our football team, we want to be there. We are here for the community because the community has been here for us.”
Prior to his tenure as a P.E. teacher at Neshoba Central, Ruffin served as a science teacher and assistant football coach at Kemper County High School, assistant football coach at Newton High School, and interim head football & head boys track & field coach in the Holmes County School District at J.J. McClain High School.
Coach Ruffin holds a bachelor’s degree in coaching and sports administration from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of West Alabama and is currently pursuing an Educational Doctorate at the University of Phoenix.
He has been married to Felicia Ruffin for 24 years. They have 5 children, Cayman (Shantae), Shantasia, Elijah, Zachariah, and Shanna. They also have 2 grandchildren, Ezekiel and Jayden.