Carnell gets the call to the MACJC Sports Hall of Fame

By NEMCC Media Relations

BOONEVILLE, Miss. – Former Northeast Mississippi Community College head football and softball coach and athletic director David Carnell will be inducted into the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Sports Hall of Fame at a banquet set for Tuesday, April 23 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus of Hinds Community College.

Holmes Community College will be live-streaming the induction ceremony starting at 6:20 p.m. at

Carnell joins an illustrious list of former Tiger and Lady Tigers to be inducted into the state’s community college Sports Hall of Fame since it opened in 2007.

In 2012, Northeast’s current executive vice president and former women’s basketball coach and athletic director Ricky Ford was inducted

Former Northeast football player, football coach and athletic director William “Bill” Ward, former Tiger basketball coach and athletic director Bonner Arnold and former Tiger basketball player Adrian Smith were among the inaugural class for the Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 while former Northeast president Harold T. White and former Tiger basketball standout and coach Kenneth ‘Ken’ Lindsey became part of the Hall of Fame in 2008.

In 2009, former Tiger basketball coach Harvey Childers got the call to the hall and David ‘Nub’ Strickland (former Tiger football player) was inducted in 2010.

During the 2011 ceremony, one of Ford’s own was enshrined in the sports hall of fame as Kunshinge Sorrell-Howard was honored.

Mississippi’s Community College Sports Hall of Fame was conceived in the interest of recognizing coaches and athletes who have coached and/or played in one or more of Mississippi’s public community or junior colleges. Acknowledging the fact that there have been many outstanding athletes who have contributed greatly to the successful sports programs throughout the two-year college system, the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) began a program of recognition in 2007 whereby individuals may be recognized for their contributions to the tremendous success of community and junior college sports in Mississippi.

Carnell was inducted into the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 but the former athletic director’s influence reaches deep within the college’s history.

Carnell’s dedication to Northeast Mississippi Community College spanned nearly five decades.

Carnell originally came to the college in 1972 as a member of the Northeast Mississippi Junior College football coaching staff but the former athletic director left his mark in a totally different sport when guided Northeast’s transition from slow-pitch to fast-pitch softball at the turn of the century and had the Lady Tigers in the national tournament within three years.

Carnell’s run on the gridiron at Northeast came after the long-time coach helped found the program at Biggersville High School where he served as the high school’s first football coach.

Carnell was an assistant football coach for 10 years — 1972-82 before taking over the reins of the program from W.B. “Bill” Ward in 1983. Carnell won two of his first four games including victories over Holmes (15-7) and Coahoma (45-0) as the Tigers went on to finish the 1983 season as the North Division runner-up.

After three years at the helm, Carnell gave up the head-coaching role and returned to be an assistant coach for the Tiger football team until 1996 when he dedicated his focus to softball.

Carnell resurrected the Northeast softball program in 1993 after an almost 10-year hiatus away from competition and posted a 17-16 record during the Northeast’s first year back in slow-pitch competition.

Carnell’s Lady Tigers also started a run to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) Region XXIII Tournament that would stretch through the transition to fast-pitch competition and until his retirement in 2005.

During Carnell’s years, Northeast was the only school in Mississippi to boast a 13-year run in the Region XXIII Tournament – covering both slow- and fast-pitch softball – 1994-2006.

Carnell replaced Ward once again in 1996 when the veteran coach took over the role of athletic director for Northeast Mississippi Community College and held the position while coaching softball until his retirement in 2005-06.

During his time on the slow-pitch diamond, Carnell led the Northeast Lady Tiger softball team to four straight North Division runner-up finishes — 1994-98 — before finally breaking through as the North Division champion in 1999. Carnell led the Lady Tigers to seven straight Region XXIII tournaments before the college switched to fast-pitch competition in 2001.

Carnell and the Lady Tigers did not miss a note with the switch staking a 28-12 record during their first year in fast-pitch competition, were co-North Division champions, and placed third in the state/region tournament. During the 2000-01 season, Northeast was ranked as high as fifth in the nation twice.

Carnell continued to fine-tune the Northeast fast-pitch softball team with five straight North Division championships –2001-05 — and saw his team finish as the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges’ state runners-up three straight years from 2003-05.

Northeast’s crowning moment came in 2003 when the Lady Tigers qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association’s National Softball Championship after winning the Region XXIII championship.

Northeast came close to a return trip to the national tournament in Carnell’s final years at the helm finishing as the Region XXIII runner-up in 2004 and 2005. Carnell not only pushed his athletes on the diamond but demanded excellence in the classroom as well and was awarded as the NJCAA’s Academic Team of the year in 2000 — Northeast’s first year of fast-pitch competition — and was among the top academic teams in the country in 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Carnell was named the Region XXIII Coach of the Year in 2003 and was honored as the MACJC Coach of the Year in 2005 and given the NJCAA’s Loyalty Award in 2005.

After retiring, Carnell returned as a part-time assistant coach to the softball program from 2006-08 before finally hanging up his cleats.

In total, Carnell recorded 301 wins against 223 losses during his time as head football and slow- and fast-pitch coach.

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