Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

May 15, 2014

SGTC names Douglas J. Byrd new Jets head basketball coach

AMERICUS — South Georgia Technical College President Sparky Reeves announced recently that Jets assistant basketball coach Douglas J. Byrd has been named the new men’s head basketball coach effective immediately. South Georgia Technical College competes in Division I in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Byrd has served as the assistant coach of the Jets for the past two and a half seasons. He was initially hired in November 2011. The Jets finished that season 14–17. In his first full season with the men’s team, the Jets posted a 22–10 record. This year, the Jets had their best record in the history of the men’s program since basketball was reinstated at SGTC in 2001 with a 29–5 overall mark.

Byrd was a key factor in the Jets winning the 2013–2014 GCAA Conference Title, the NJCAA Region XVII Tournament Championship, and helping the Jets qualify for a trip to the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas this season where the team finished among the top 16 teams in the nation.

“Coach Douglas J. Byrd has been an asset to the college and to the men’s basketball program as an assistant coach for the past two and 1/2 years. He has demonstrated his love for the game and for South Georgia Technical College. I look forward to working with Douglas Byrd in his new role as head coach and believe that he has some great ideas on how to keep our program moving in the right direction,” said Reeves. “This will also serve as a smooth transition for the freshman players returning for their sophomore year.”

Byrd thanked Reeves for the opportunity to lead the Jets as the head coach next season.

“South Georgia Technical College and its athletic program is outstanding,” said Byrd. “I appreciate President Reeves’ and the senior staff’s support of me as an assistant coach and the confidence that they have placed in me to be the new head coach. My main goals are to continue the winning tradition and graduate our sophomores. I would also like to thank former head coach Steven Wright for giving me the opportunity to be his assistant coach. He and his wife, Brandi, and their entire family have been wonderful to me during the past two and 1/2 years.”

Byrd is only the third head coach in the history of the Jets basketball program since 2001. Coach Chris Wade took the reins of the program in 2001 and remained with the school through the 2005–06 season. Wright was named head coach when Wade resigned in 2006. He served as head coach for eight seasons and had been with the program since its inception. He stepped down earlier this year to accept a ministerial position at a local church.

Byrd came to South Georgia Tech from Decatur, where he had been serving as the head coach and Director of Basketball Operations for Mount Pisgah Christian School, a college preparatory school in Johns Creek for three years.  In his first year at Mount Pisgah, the school won more games than the previous three years combined. He has also coached at Whitefield Academy in Mableton, Georgia and coached elite level AAU teams in Georgia and California. He has had the opportunity to coach over 40 Division I basketball players during his career as a high school, AAU, and junior college coach.

This will be Douglas Byrd’s first head coaching position at the college level, but he feels he is up to the challenge. 

“I have been a head coach at the high school and AAU levels and I believe that those experiences as well as my time here as an assistant coach has prepared me to step up to the next level,” said Byrd.

He relates the community college head coaching position to one that has two opportunities – like a double edged sword. 

“I have the opportunity to recruit players and also to have players recruited for the next level, so I have two different opportunities to build relationships and promote South Georgia Tech and its athletic program.”

Byrd also said that he will be bringing in a strong freshman group of players to build on some of the sophomores that will be returning.

“South Georgia Tech is unique. We can offer students a traditional general education program as well as a technical program and that gives us more flexibility in recruiting players.”

Byrd holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. He and his wife, Renita, are the proud parents of five sons, John, Mike, Doug, Jerry, and Jesse. His youngest son, Jesse, is graduating from Whitefield Academy and has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at the University of North Georgia.

 

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