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James Crain photo
James Crain photo
James Crain
Hometown: Mendenhall, MS
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Coach James Crain is an accomplished championship basketball coach who led hoops programs at Mendenhall, Hillcrest Christian, and Simpson Academy. Coach Crain was born in Mendenhall and was a three-sport letterman at Puckett High. He was an All-Conference football player, and All-District and All-Tournament team basketball star, and he led the track team to a state title by participating in 4 events. James lettered in football, basketball, and track at Hinds CC where he graduated in 1975. He earned his college degree at Southern Miss in 1977. Coach Crain began his 37-year coaching career at Mendenhall High where he would coach for the next 23 years. He guided the Mendenhall Tigers baskeball squad to three South State titles in 1988, 1990, and 2000; a Class A runner-up finish in 1983; state runner-up seasons in 1989 and 1995; a Grand Slam overall runner-up trophy in 1982; and two state championships in 1982 and 2000. The 1982 championship team completed a 36-2 record to capture Coach Crain's first basketball state crown. His final year at Mendenhall featured a hoops squad that finished 35-4 and won the Class 4A state title in 2000. He coached 6 seasons at Hillcrest Christian where he paced his boys' teams to three consectutive Class AAA MAIS state titles in 2007, 2008, and 2009 plus two overall runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009. James has guided the Simson Academy basketball program since 2010 where his squads were the Class AA runner-ups in 2011, the South State champions in 2014 and 2016. Overall, he has coached in 1,292 games with 975 wins and only 317 losses. His teams have claimed 7 state championships during his career along with 4 state runner-up finishes 4 overall final appearances, 5 South State titles, 3 South State runner-ups, 1 North State runner-up, 15 district crowns, and 9 district runner-ups. His Mendenhall teams were 586-192, his Hillcrest Christian squads were 167-53, and his Simpson Academy teams have a tally of 222-72 through 2018. He notched his 900th win in his career in November, 2015, with Simpson Academy.He has coached in 5 All-Star games covering two sports during his coaching tenure including the following: the South in the 1986 Mississippi High School All-Star game, the Mississippi team in the 1995 Mississippi/Alabama All-Star Classic, the South in the 2007 and 2009 MAIS All-Star games, and the North in the 1988 MAC All-Star softball games. He was selected as the Mississippi high school basketbal coach of the year by the Jackson Clarion Ledger in 2000. Coach Crain was inducted into the Hinds CC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.