Former Ole Miss basketball standout and Rebel assistant coach Rahim Lockhart is the new head men’s basketball coach at East Central Community College (ECCC) in Decatur.
Lockhart served as interim head men’s basketball coach at ECCC during a portion of the 2019-20 season, compiling a 7-12 record after taking over the team in late November.
The search for a permanent head coach began on Feb. 21, a day after the completion of the 2019-20 season.
“ECCC continues to prepare for the future, even in the midst of very challenging times,” said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. “We are pleased that an individual with such a solid background in both winning on the court and preparing young men for productive lives off the court will lead our men’s basketball program. We look forward to the leadership that Rahim Lockhart will bring to our men’s basketball program.”
“I give all praise to God,” Lockhart said. “I’m thankful to Dr. Stewart, the Board of Trustees, and Director of Athletics Paul Nixon for entrusting in me the position of head coach at East Central Community College. I look forward to leading this program to many wins over the years to come.”
A native of Mendenhall, Lockhart served one season as an assistant basketball coach for the Ole Miss Rebels in 2017-18 under former head coach Andy Kennedy.
In his most recent two seasons as a head basketball coach before coming to ECCC, he had a combined record of 59-3 at Yazoo County High School and Jones County Junior College for a 95 percent winning percentage.
Lockhart was 30-1 and led the Panthers to the Class 3A Semifinals as head boys’ coach at Yazoo County High School in 2018-19.
As head coach at Jones County Junior College [now Jones College] in Ellisville, he led the Bobcats to a 64-15 record in three seasons including three straight National Junior College Athletic Association Region 23 Tournament appearances. His final Bobcat team finished 29-2 overall and advanced to the round of 16 in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. He was also named Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
In his first season at Jones in 2014-15, the Bobcats won their first 14 games and were ranked as high as No. 8 in the NJCAA Division I poll. Jones finished 18-5 overall that season. His second Jones team in 2015-16 compiled a 17-8 record and an appearance in the MACJC state championship game.
Prior to coaching at Jones, Lockhart was head coach of Madison Central High School from 2011-14. He led the Jaguars to the 6A North State title in 2013 and 2014 and the 6A State finals in 2013. He was head coach of Grenada High School from 2009-11 and led the Chargers to the North State in 2011. Lockhart was the Taylorsville High School head coach from 2007-09, leading the Tartars to the 2A championship quarterfinals in both 2008 and 2009 and a district championship in 2009. He also was an assistant at Piney Woods School from 2005-07, with the Tornadoes advancing to the 2A State finals in 2007.
“Coach Lockhart brings a wealth of experience to the position at all levels of basketball, and he has a proven record as a winner at all of those levels,” said ECCC Director of Athletics Paul Nixon. “Most importantly, Coach Lockhart is committed to the East Central athletics philosophy of developing young men of character and seeing them grow in all areas of their lives, not just on the basketball court. I look forward to seeing the progress our program will continue to make under his leadership.”
Lockhart was an All-American basketball player at Ole Miss, playing for the Rebels from 1998-2001. He helped lead the Rebels to two SEC Western Division titles, three 20-win seasons, NCAA Tournament appearances in 1998, 1999, and 2001, and an NIT berth in 2000. The 2001 Ole Miss team won a school-record 27 games and made the program’s first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
He earned third-team All-American, second team All-SEC, and SEC All-Tournament Team honors following his senior season at Ole Miss.
He is a member of the Ole Miss Team of the Century, was inducted into the Ole Miss M-Club Hall of Fame in 2018, and was a member of the 2013 Allstate SEC Basketball Legends Team honored at the conference tournament in Nashville.
Lockhart received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Mississippi and his master’s in sports administration from Belhaven University. He and his wife, Tarrah, have four children, Amirah, Alonzo, Ahmad, and Ahmari.