Anthony Carlyle credits his six state champions to his father
His dad, Archie Carlyle, has seven state championships as a coach
YAZOO CITY, Miss. (WLBT) - Yazoo City boys’ basketball coach Anthony Carlyle refers to himself as ‘Young Phil Jackson.’ Carlyle was given the nickname by his friend, and current NFL player, Fletcher Cox, after he won the state championship as the head coach of Velma Jackson.
Carlyle is living up to the name of the NBA hall-of-fame coach; he won three more championships at Velma Jackson, then became the head coach of Columbus, where he won again, and most recently won his first state championship as the head coach at Yazoo City High School.
Carlyle credits his success with having talented coaches and players around him. Players that he coached at Velma Jackson and Columbus went on to be successful college players, and some went on to play professionally, some in the NBA.
“It’s good to have great players, but our job is to put them in position to be successful,” Carlyle said.
Carlyle tries to focus on discipline and fundamentals for his players.
“That’s what we try to stress, try to get our guys to understand that you have to be disciplined on and off the court so you can chew your job on the court,” he said.
Though he’s been successful as a head coach, he didn’t always want to be a coach, but started coaching under his father after graduating college.
“At first, I didn’t want to coach, I said I’d never be a coach,” he said. “When I graduated Southern Miss, he made me start working with him as an assistant the next week, so I didn’t get any chance to kind of like enjoy graduation or anything. I just had to get straight to work once I got to work. I enjoyed it because I just got a chance to learn so much.”
His father is Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Famer Archie Carlyle, who has seven state championships as a head coach, including with the Yazoo City boys’ basketball in 1996, with Anthony as his student manager, and with the Yazoo City girls’ basketball team in 2009, with Anthony on his coaching staff.
Anthony credits his father with all six of his championship titles.
“Essentially, I always tell him that all of them belong to him, because of the blueprint that he gave me when I was an assistant for him,” Anthony said. “It was kind of almost like a cheat code in a sense, and I’ve just been sticking to the blueprint.”
Five years ago, Archie challenged Anthony to return to the bench at Yazoo City, and bring a state title back to the program for the first time since that ‘96 team.
“He kept telling me it’s a young group. There’s some guys he felt like if the right coach came and worked with them, they had some talent that could be developed,” Anthony Carlyle said. “I thought long hard about it, and finally decided to give it a try.”
However, while the Indians were winning their first title in 27 years, Archie was not on the sideline, he was in the hospital.
“He’d been with us the whole time here, and he wasn’t able to attend that game. So, it was kind of like, ‘this is the one person I want to see what all came out,’ and he couldn’t be there.”
Anthony went to visit Archie in the hospital with the state trophy afterwards.
“He was just happy, he was like, ‘y’all got it done,’ he was excited,” Anthony said. “It was great, and I was glad that he got a chance to enjoy that moment. I just think with the atmosphere that the fans created that night and how well the game went, I just really wish that he would have gotten a chance to experience that with us.”
Anthony and Archie’s bond goes back to childhood, and Anthony is creating the same relationship with his son, who was a student manager for the 2023 Yazoo City championship team, just like he was for the 1996 championship team.
“Growing up all I had was him, all he had was me, so we’ve been very close for a long time,” Anthony Carlyle said. “We grew up in the gym, and I do the same thing with my son. He’s normally with me all the time when we’re in the gym at our games.”
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