By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Pearl River Community College head football coach Tim Hatten stepped down Tuesday morning.
His 11-year tenure with the Wildcats will officially end June 30, 2013.
The Wildcats had an 80-30 record under Hatten, a Sumrall native who began his tenure at PRCC in 2002. His teams won four MACJC state championships in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, along with an NJCAA national championship in 2004. His team lost in the national title game in 2006.
However, his last two teams at PRCC had a combined 7-11 record, including 3-6 in this season. It also marked the fourth straight season that the Wildcats failed to make the state juco playoffs.
“Coach Tim Hatten has brought great honor to Pearl River Community College during his tenure as head coach,” said PRCC President William Lewis. “The stretch from 2003-2006 when his teams won four consecutive state championships, a national championship and were national runner-up one season is rather remarkable in the competitive world of community college football. Coach Hatten is a fine man and has enjoyed great success as a football coach. We wish him every success in the future.”
“We met and just couldn’t get together on what we felt we needed to get together on,” Hatten, a PRCC alumnus as well, said. “I just thought it was time to step aside and give someone else a shot at it. I am not leaving disgruntled or angry. We had a great run here, and now it’ time to move on.”
Lewis said a search for a new head coach would begin immediately.
“We hope to be able to recommend someone at our Dec. 13 board of trustees meeting,” he said.
Hatten, 49, was a two-year letter winner for the Wildcats in 1983-84 before transferring to the University of Southern Mississippi. He spent nine seasons as head football coach at Haines City (Fla.) High, where he posted a 75-29 record.
Hatten led PRCC to a MACJC state championship in 2003, its first since 1976. In 2004, the Wildcats won the MACJC national championship by defeating Butler (Kan.) Community College in the Dalton Defenders Bowl in Coffeyville, Kan. PRCC had a perfect 12-0 record.
The Wildcats won the 2005 MACJC state championship, even though the first two games of the season were cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina.
In 2006, PRCC defeated Co-Lin for its 19th MACJC state championship, the most by any two-year school in Mississippi. The Wildcats went on to play No. 1 Blinn (Tex.) College in the Pilgrim’s Pride Bowl in Mt. Pleasant, Tex., losing 19-6 and finishing No. 4 in the final poll.
“We accomplished about as much as you can accomplish on the juco level,” Hatten added. “We brought a lot of visibility on the national level to Poplarville. But if you raise the bar, like we did, you have to be able to follow that bar. And we didn’t do a very good job of doing that the last couple of years. This is a results-based business, and we didn’t have the results we needed over the past few years.”