Meridian Star

Sports

February 12, 2013

Former MCC coach headed to NJCAA Hall of Fame

MERIDIAN —     Former Meridian Community College men’s basketball coach Dennis Helms will take his rightful place among the nation’s elite. Helms has been named to the 2013 class of the NJCAA Basketball Hall of Fame.

    Since its inception in 1984, a total of 133 coaches, players and special contributors have been inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

    Helms will be honored this March at the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Hutchinson, KS.

    A legend in NJCAA basketball circles, Dennis Helms was an accomplished head coach that helped shape the careers of many famous players. Most known for his 16 seasons at the helm of the men’s basketball program at Odessa College (Texas), Helms also had successful stops at Meridian Community College (Miss.), Butler Community College (Kan.), Crowder College (Mo.) and Iowa Western Community College.   

    His first stint at Odessa was from 1986-96. During this time he led the Wranglers to four Western Junior College Athletic Conference (1988, ’89, ’93, ’94) titles, four Region 5 Championships (1988, ’89, ’90, ’93) and four appearances in the Division I national tournament (1988, ’89, ’90, ’93).

    In 1997 he took over the men’s basketball program at Meridian Community College (Miss.) where he guided the Eagles to a two-year record of 49-19, including a fifth place finish in the 1999 Division I national tournament.

    From 1999-2005 he led the Grizzlies of Butler Community College (Kan.). While at Butler, his 2000-01 team set a school record with 13 conference wins, on their way to winning the Kansas Jayhawk West Division for the first time since 1995.

    Helms returned to Odessa in 2006 and led the Wranglers to 20 or more victories six times and a conference championship in 2008. He amassed a coaching record at Odessa of 426 wins and 124 losses.

    Helms helped develop many future NBA players during his career, including three first round and three second round draft picks: Larry Johnson, (UNLV, 1990 #1 NBA Draft Pick), Alvin Robertson (Arkansas, 1984 #7 NBA Draft Pick), Tony Allen (Oklahoma State, 2004 #25 NBA Draft Pick), Rodney Dent (Kentucky, 1994 #32 NBA Draft Pick), Martin Norris (Auburn, #33 1996 NBA Draft Pick) and Ronald Murray (Shaw, 2002 #42 NBA Draft Pick).

    In 32 years as an NJCAA head coach, Helms posted a career record of 724 wins and 279 losses. He is one of just 19 coaches in NJCAA history with over 700 victories.

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