He achieves milestone in his 25th season as head coach
MELBOURNE, Fla. (Men’s Basketball) – Florida Tech (12-3) began a three-game homestand Tuesday night by defeating Trinity Baptist, 64-54, for head coach Billy Mims’ 500th career victory. The Panthers have now won six of their last seven games, while the Eagles fall to 10-7 on the season.
Mims has recorded 95 wins in seven seasons with the Panthers after earning nine wins in one season at UT-Permian Basin. He won 317 games as a professional coach in Europe with the Leicester Riders (81), London Leopards (202) and Neptune Basketball Club (34). He also won 79 games at fellow Sunshine State Conference member Barry from 1989-1994.
“I’ve been a head coach for 25 years,” Mims said. “I have grown some gray hair here at Florida Tech and to be honest, that’s a blessing. I remember growing up, my friends and I would sit around watching basketball games, and I was the weird one of the group because I would always pay attention to the coaches instead of the star players. Here I am today still coaching. I always try to explain to my children just how lucky I am. I’m one of the luckiest people in the world because I’m living my dream. There are around 800 coaches in Division I and Division II combined and to just be a member of that small group for so long makes me feel like one of the luckiest and happiest people in the world.”
Simon Cummings was one of three Panthers to score in double figures, contributing 14 points. Derek Hellemann supplied 11 in 17 minutes and Jermaine Jackson had 10. Leading the team in rebounding was Julius Reid with 10, eight were offensive rebounds. Cameron Stahl once again provided a spark as a reserve, scoring eight points with six rebounds and two blocks.
The Panthers led the entire 40 minutes and had a comfortable 38-14 lead at halftime. After falling behind by as many as 29 points with 18:14 to go, the Eagles worked their way back into the game. By the time Xavier Perkins hit a three-pointer at the 2:42 mark, they trailed 58-50. The eight-point deficit, however, would be the closest Trinity Baptist could get to the Panthers the remainder of the game.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of the 500 games, but a win is a win,” Mims said. “Sometimes games are a lot closer than expected. We tried some different looks and our whole bench had a chance to play some minutes, which was nice. We need to give Trinity Baptist credit. They were a very worthy opponent tonight. They never quit, played hard and fought until the end, while playing with a lot of heart.”
FIT will host first-place Rollins in a pivotal Sunshine State Conference game Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Clemente Center. Prior to the game, the Panther women will square off against the Tars at 2 p.m.
Live video, audio and stats will be available for both games at FloridaTechSports.com.
Postgame Ceremony Video: http://youtu.be/3vv1IWBfT0c