Tougaloo College men’s basketball team 22-1 under first-year head coach

Eric Strothers took over the role from Thomas Billups, who remains with the team as an assistant
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 9:29 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Eric Strothers is in his first year as head coach of the Tougaloo College men’s basketball team. Strothers, a former assistant coach for Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State, was the assistant coach for the Bulldogs the last season, coaching under Thomas Billups.

“I’ve been coaching 47 years, and I’ve never had an assistant coach that’s always on the money, always here on the court. He just did everything for me,” said Billups, who handed over the head job to Strothers, and is now an assistant.

Under Strothers, the Bulldogs are 22-1 this season, with their lone loss coming in a road game at Division-II Mississippi College.

“I’ve got some good players, and I’ve got some great assistant coaches that helped us get to this point right now,” Strothers said. “I’m very excited that we’re at this point we’re at now.”

Despite the team’s record, Strothers makes sure his players are focused ahead of every single game.

“We wake up everyday 0-0,” he said. “So, we just take it one game at a time.”

The Bulldogs average 81 points per game, but the team believes it’s their defense that has led to their success this season.

“All our coaches, they preach defense turns into offense. We put that in our heads so much, we’ve started believing in it, and it’s been working for us,” said senior guard Cameron Copeland. “Sometimes we let the other team get the tip, because we want to enforce our energy on that side of the ball.”

“Coming into the season, we just focused a lot on defense, I knew we had enough offense to score enough points, and I was worried about our defense,” Strothers said. “Our guys, we’re about 70% on defense right now, and we’re getting better and better as we move on through the season.”

The Bulldogs have four games left in the regular season, all on the road. They will return home at the end of the month to host the conference championship tournament.

While the regular season success is nice, the Bulldogs have much bigger goals for the season.

“The #1 goal from the beginning was a national championship,” Strothers said. “We want a national championship for Tougaloo College, that’s what we’re striving for.”

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