Having previously enjoyed success on the Scooba campus as an assistant coach, Billy Begley has returned to begin his first season as the head men’s basketball coach at East Mississippi Community College.
Having spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for Phil Cunningham at Troy University, Begley returns to EMCC, where he previously played an integral role as former head coach Mark White’s assistant during the Lions’ successful three-year run spanning the 2010-11 and 2012-13 basketball seasons.
Most recently, Begley was instrumental in securing consecutive talent-laden recruiting classes for the Troy Trojans during the past two seasons. Troy’s most recent signee class includes Meridian High School product Brandon (B.J.) Miller, while last year’s newcomer group included Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) products Chris Bilbo (Mississippi Gulf Coast CC/Forest Hills HS) and Jeremy Hollimon (Pearl River CC/Gulfport HS). Also during Begley’s stint on Troy’s hoops staff, the Trojans landed Wesley Person Jr., who went on to earn 2014-15 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year honors, as well as Jordon Varnado of Brownsville, Tenn., who is the younger brother of former Mississippi State shot-blocking standout and NBA player Jarvis Varnado.
During Begley’s prior three-year stay at East Mississippi, the Lions were a collective 68-19 (.782) overall and 33-3 (.917) in division play en route to claiming NJCAA Region 23 Tournament championships and MACJC North Division regular-season titles during each of the three seasons. Along with the Lions earning a pair of season-ending NJCAA Division I Top 20 national rankings during that span, Begley helped tutor NJCAA All-Americans Jarekious Bradley (Southeast Missouri), D.J. Evans (Albany), Colin Borchert (Mississippi State) and Deonte Alexander (Lipscomb). A total of 27 EMCC student-athletes (17 NCAA Division I players) that Begley recruited and/or coached have gone on to play at the four-year level, including Avery Woodson (Memphis), Devonta Pollard (Houston), Davon “Chuck” Ester (Chattanooga) and Mack Foster (Louisiana-Monroe).
Begley initially came to East Mississippi five years ago after having spent the 2009-10 campaign as a volunteer men’s assistant basketball coach on J.P. Piper’s staff at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La.
With his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mississippi State, Begley served as a three-time team co-captain for former MSU head coach and current Texas A&M associate head coach Rick Stansbury. Begley was a part of three NCAA Tournament teams, an NIT semifinalist club, one Southeastern Conference championship squad and three SEC Western Division title teams during his five-year (2004-08) collegiate playing career for the Bulldogs. He stayed on board at his alma mater in a support role on MSU’s 2008-09 staff while completing his master’s degree in business administration (MBA). While serving as a graduate assistant at State, Begley added an SEC Tournament crown and a fourth NCAA Tournament appearance to his impressive resume.
A four-time selection to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Begley received his undergraduate degree in business management from MSU in 2007.
Begley, a native of Henderson, Ky., is engaged to Lee Davis, who serves as Mississippi State’s coordinator of football recruiting.