GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - No one would argue.. if I said...in the history of Mississippi high school basketball...Bert Jenkins is the best all-time coach.
In 28 years, Jenkins guided the Gulfport Commodores and Admirals to 7 state championship titles. His teams netted 866 wins and only 180 losses.
In 2004 I sat down with Bert Jenkins and his wife Lil. We discussed his life as a coach. He said when he returned home from World War II he did some coaching for his dad who was Superintendent of Schools in Pike County before heading to college. The rest is history.
Jenkins said,"I loved basketball and I loved teaching and coaching. Coaching is teaching and I taught English for 33 years in the classroom and I enjoyed that. Just the idea seeing guys improve year-to-year and seeing the team do in the games what they're coaching to do in practice gives me a lot of satisfaction."
Bert Jenkins was named National High School Coach of the Year four times and was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame in 1981.
WLOX employee...Nate Barkum played for coach Jenkins on the Gulfport Admirals 1987 and 1988 State Championship teams.
Barkum says besides being a great coach...Bert Jenkins was a great person.
"To me he was an icon, "stated Barkum. "He was a great coach, a wonderful man and he was a father figure to all of us who ever played for him. He taught us not only basketball, he also taught us how to be young man off the court as well."