Joel Hawkins, the winningest boys basketball coach in Louisiana history, has died at his Texas home, according to The Advocate. He was 77.
Hawkins had a career record of 1,071-263 in a 43-year career — with 39 winning seasons and 21 district titles — at Southern Lab, Lake Providence High and G.W. Griffith. His teams won 12 state titles (11 in a 13-year span at Southern Lab and a 2A title at Lake Providence in 1985).
He was inducted into the Louisiana High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and was named Louisiana’s Mr. Basketball in 2005 by the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches.
“I was with him as a player from the time I was in the sixth grade and then I was an assistant to him for four years,” current Southern Lab coach Devan Clark told The Advocate. “We were side-by-side for 12 years and I learned so much … we all did.
“It was never just about basketball. He taught us about life. I’ve carried those things with me and will continue to do so. He was so much more than a coach.”
Hawkins returned to Baton Rouge last winter when Southern Lab hosted the first Joel Hawkins Classic basketball tournament at Southern University.