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Roderick Woods hired as EMCC’s assistant women’s basketball coach

SCOOBA — With nearly 20 years of women’s basketball coaching experience at the collegiate level, Roderick Woods has been hired as an assistant women’s basketball coach at East Mississippi Community College.  The announcement was made this week by EMCC athletics director/head women’s basketball coach Sharon Thompson.

“Coach Woods brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will prove valuable to our women’s basketball program here at EMCC,” Thompson said.  “I am fortunate to have someone with a résumé like his on the sideline with me.”

Most recently, Woods spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach on Ashley Walker-Johnson’s staff at Mississippi Valley State University of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.  Prior to that, Woods served in the same capacity for three years at South Carolina State University of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, where he helped coach two all-conference players.  At both schools, Woods was responsible for recruiting, scheduling, budgeting, and community outreach, along with overseeing individual player skill development, scouting preparation for opposing teams, and serving as the director of team and individual summer camps.

“I admire Coach (Sharon) Thompson because of her no-nonsense approach to the game of basketball,” Woods said.  “Along with being a tireless worker, she values good character, toughness and fundamentally sound basketball when it comes to her teams.”

Prior to making the jump to the university level in 2015, Woods spent 12 years as the head women’s basketball coach at Clinton College in Rock Hill, S.C.  He also served a majority of that tenure as the college’s athletics director.  Having approached the 200 mark for career wins, Woods guided the Golden Bears to five Region 10 runner-up finishes and coached three NJCAA Region 10 Players of the Year.  His players also excelled in the classroom, with six of his student-athletes being named valedictorians of their graduating classes at Clinton.

Throughout his previous coaching stint in the junior college ranks, Woods also served as a tournament director for the NJCAA Region 10 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments played in Fort Mill, S.C.  During the summer months, he previously served as an associate director at the Nike girls’ basketball camps held annually in Amherst, Mass.

Woods’ basketball coaching career began at his alma mater as a volunteer assistant men’s basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky University during the 1996-97 season.  He also spent the 1999-2000 campaign working as an assistant boys’ basketball coach at Lamar (S.C.) High School.

Woods played collegiately for the Eastern Kentucky Colonels during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the Richmond-based school.

A native of Florence, S.C., Woods began his college athletic and academic careers in his home state at Spartanburg Methodist College.  After teaming as a freshman with two-time NJCAA Division I All-American and former NBA player James Scott to help lead SMC to the 1993 NJCAA National Tournament, Woods went on to earn All-Region 10 honors as a sophomore for the Pioneers.

“Coming back to the JUCO level as a coach is like coming home again,” Woods added.  “The grind of JUCO athletics is a great character builder.”

With a master’s degree in sports management from the American Public University in Charles Town, W.Va., Woods has three children – daughters Oriona and Kaelyn, and son, Kaiden.