Jackson native Montra Edwards has been named associate head coach/defensive line coach at Holmes Community College.
Edwards comes to Holmes from Holmes County Central where he served as a football assistant coach. He also coached at Murrah High School, S.V. Marshall Junior High and Canton High School. He is the owner/founder of the Jackson Giants Sports Club in Jackson and has been since 2001. He has professional coaching experience with Omaha Beef in Omaha, Neb., Quad City Steamwheelers in Moline, Ill. and San Diego Shockwave in San Diego, Cali.
"I am honored, privileged, and excited with the opportunity to build on the rich traditions here at Holmes Community College," Edwards said. "I want to thank Coach Gross, Director of Athletics Coach Andy Wood and President Dr, Jim Haffey for the opportunity to work at a world class institution with a top notch first class football program.
"I look forward to working along Coach Gross," he said. "His leadership, knowledge of football, organization skills and proven record of winning championships has me super excited and ready to get going. Coach Gross has high expectations for what he wants to achieve in the immediate future and I'm ready and willing to do whatever is required of me to help fulfill his vision along with coming in and being a positive role model for players on the team. I not only want to win ball games, but also develop the student athletes and help them graduate and become productive members of society. I live by four C's of success: Communication, being Committed, Consistency and Confidence."
Edwards said he's glad to still be a part of the Holmes County community.
"Holmes County is very near and dear to me," Edwards said. "My relationship with the Holmes County community is one of admiration and respect. I would like to give special thanks to the Holmes County Consolidated School District. In my two years as a teacher and coach at Holmes County Central, the administration and community have always looked at me and treated me as one of their own my entire time working here. They know that I carry myself as a professional and that I'm a man of my word and convictions.
"Lastly but certainly not least I would like to give a special thanks to Coach Marcus Rogers, the Head Football Coach at Holmes County Central High School and Athletic Director of the Holmes County Consolidated School District," he added. "Coach Rogers' leadership breeds success and promotion among his players and Assistant Coaches. Under the direction of Coach Rogers I was given total control of football operations for an extended period. With the assistance of the coaching staff, and support of the school administration, these implementations of such resulted in successful winning football seasons on and off the field."
"As far as defensive line goes, he has an intimate knowledge of the position and played the position," Coach Gross said. "His son just signed with the SEC at Missouri. He's coached defensive line and coordinated defenses at multiple levels. Bringing him in adds a local flair to what we've been doing. Gives us a better relationship with the high school coaches in the area and state."
Gross said Edwards will be an added plus in strength and conditioning as well. "With He and Marcus (Gibson) we will have a better strength and conditioning program as well."
Edwards said he lives by a quote from Germany Kent, "Your strength does not come from winning. It comes from struggles and hardships. Everything you go through prepares you for the next level.
"This quote sums up my desire to be the defensive line coach at Holmes Community College," he said. "I believe my trials, triumphs, accomplishments, struggles and hardships not only as a former Juco player but as a well-traveled coach have equipped me and prepared me to be successful not only at the grade school and professional level but at the junior college level as well. What also intrigues me is that coaching on this level affords me the chance to not only coach but to mentor men and prepare them for the next level of football and life."
He said his greatest strength is identifying and maximizing talent.
"I believe my strengths of analyzing talent and maximizing their potential will leverage our team on the playing field," Edwards said. "Throughout the years, I have been afforded the opportunity of spearheading and executing various recruiting and training strategies.
"I am also skilled at implementing a diverse strength and conditioning regimen topped off with structured in-season and off-season training programs that continues to build and motivate players year round which makes a successful organization. Motivating student athletes is also a strength and characteristic of all good coaches. I think motivating student athletes and keeping them motivated by constantly making the team's vision and goals clear along with creating healthy competition among students while staying on task of meeting team and personal goals."
Edwards said the defense will change depending on the opponent. "We will be able to line up in multiple fronts where pressure and being disruptive is what we hang our hat on," Edwards said. "We will game plan weekly in accordance to ensure that as coaches we are putting our players in the best position to compete and win.
"Characteristically we will be a blue collar unit and build on the foundation laid by Coach (Jeff) Koonz," he said. "We will be run-first defenders, very solid and skilled in pass rush while winning and dominating one-on-one match ups. Our goals are to be the most physical, best-conditioned, well-prepared and most fundamentally sound unit on the field whether practice or game day. We will be disciplined and mentally tough which are two imperative qualities of a productive defensive line."
Edwards said he's pleased to be back in the Mississippi community college system this time as a coach.
"The MACJC league is the best, most competitive junior college football league in the country and many coaches and players have advanced their careers because of the national spotlight that shines on this league as well as a proven track record of producing quality players and coaches," he said. "The league is second to none in this country in regards to football and talent with defensive linemen been the premium position."
Edwards holds an associate's degree in general studies from Hinds Community College and a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Jackson State University. He also took classes at Middle Tennessee State University. He played football at these institutions as well. At Hinds, his teams won back-to-back MACJC Championships and went to two bowl games (Mineral Water Bowl in 1994 and Texas Shrine Bowl in 1995) and had a record of 21-3.
He has two sons, Montra Edwards, Jr. and Noah James Edwards.
He has professional playing experience with the Biloxi Firedogs, Rochester Brigade in Rochester, N.Y., Tulsa Talons in Tulsa, Okla., Billings Mavericks and the Billings Outlaws in Billings, Montana.
The football coaching staff is still looking to hire an offensive assistant coach with the primary responsibility of working with the running backs. The position should be opening soon.
"I'm taking my time on that position simply because it's a very important position on the offensive side of the ball," Gross said. "I want to find someone with experience, but if I can't I want to make sure it's the right fit.
"I think we've put together a pretty good staff," he said. "We are diversified in its makeup and experience level and age. That's a good thing. We have some young guys who want to get out there and work and get better as a coach. We have some older guys including myself that have been around for a little bit. We have guys from different backgrounds, and that'll make us a better coaching staff."
BY: Holmes Athletics