Gerald Glass: He keeps on achieving…
(This is the third of a series on your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum’s Class of 2013.)
Gerald Glass became one of the greatest basketball players in the history of two Mississippi universities, Delta State and then Ole Miss. He also became a first round NBA draft pick and played professionally both in the United States and overseas.
But Glass would tell you that his greatest accomplishment in sports has nothing to do with the smooth jump shot or the slam dunks he once employed as a player. No, his greatest accomplishment has come off the court.
When Gerald’s professional basketball career ended, he was still many classes short of a teaching degree at Ole Miss. When Andy Kennedy invited him to come back and work as a student assistant and go back to class, he did just that. It took a full year — with heavy academic load each semester — but Glass got that degree and immediately took a job as the head basketball coach at his high school alma mater, Amanda Elzy in Greenwood.
There, he has led Elzy to two straight state championships, a feat he was never able to accomplish as a player. The two state titles, Glass says, rank as his No. 1 accomplishment in sports — and folks, that’s saying something.
As a 16-year-old senior at Elzy, Glass was considered a “tweener.” At 6-feet, 3-inches, most big-time college coaches considered him too small to play inside and too thick to play guard. Hall of Famer Davey Whitney, at Alcorn, disagreed. He declared Glass the best high school player in the state and went after him hard.
But Glass decided to stay close to home and play at Delta State, where, as a freshman, he helped Delta State defeat Mississippi State at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville. He also led the Statesmen to two NCAA Tournaments, the first under coach Ed Murphy and the second under Steve Rives.
Murphy had moved on to Ole Miss and after his sophomore year Glass followed him. It was a gut-wrenching decision but deep down Glass wanted to prove to all the doubters that he could play at the SEC level. He knew he could.
And he did. All those doubters who thought he was two small to play inside and too thick to play guard, watched him do both. He made All-Southeastern Conference both seasons at Ole Miss and averaged a remarkable 26 points per game over the two seasons.
At Ole Miss, he was involved in one of the most memorable games in Mississippi or SEC basketball history. LSU and Chris Jackson. This was March, 1989. Jackson scored 55 points, Glass scored 53, but Glass had the last laugh as Ole Miss won 113-112 in overtime.
Glass went on to play professionally, but what has happened since is what has defined him as a person. “This is what God had planned for me,” says Glass, a deeply religious man, who grew up singing and playing drums and guitar in a gospel group.
In four seasons at Amanda Elzy, his teams have won 92 and lost 35. There’s more to come. One of the stars on this year’s championship team was a sharp-shooting junior named Gerald Glass, Jr.
To order tickets for Friday night’s induction banquet at the Jackson Hilton or Saturday’s Drawdown of Champions at the museum, call 601 982-8264.