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George Willis photo
George Willis photo
George Willis
Hometown: Memphis, TN
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The late Coach George Willis was an accomplished championship basketball coach who led programs at Simmons High in Hollandale for 36 years.  A native of Memphis, Tennessee, George was a star basketball player who was All-City, All-State, MVP, and one of the city’s leading scorers at Douglass High.  Upon graduation in 1967, Coach Willis continued his basketball career at Alcorn where he was the team’s leading scorer and served as team captain for the basketball and baseball teams.  He started his stellar coaching career in 1974 coaching boys’ and girls’ basketball at Simmons in Hollandale while also serving as athletic director.   Coach Willis paced the Blue Devils basketball squads until his retirement in 2010 leading his boys’ teams to 6 conference titles, 9 district crowns, 4 North Mississippi titles, and three state championships in 1976 (Class A), 2001 (Class 3A), and 2004 (Class 2A).  He also led his girls’ teams to 4 North Mississippi titles and back-to-back Class 2A state championships in 1992 & 1993.  Coach Willis led his boys’ teams in 1,128 games with 841 wins and only 287 losses, and his girls’ teams to 859 wins with 257 losses.  His girls’ teams also claimed an 80-game winning streak. As athletic director, he guided an athletic program that had over 1,200 students and a small budget with only two other staff members.  George was named district coach of the year 14 times for girls and11 times for boys, Mississippi Boys Coach of the Year two times, and was the Clarion Ledger basketball coach of the year in 2001.  He coached for the North All-Stars in the Mississippi High School   All-Star basketball games in 1979 and 1987 with the boys’ squad and in 1994 with the girls’ team.  He was also an assistant baseball coach for 35 years, and coached softball for 18 years earning 9 district championships, and was selected as a Star Teacher in 1983.  Coach Willis was a longtime member of the MAC and led the prestigious Memphis summer league basketball program for 7 years. Coach Willis passed away in 2018.