Hinds CC 3E winner ‘cares for all the kids’

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Coach Reginald Dillon was named the winner of Hinds Community College's annual 3E Award in a surprise ceremony on April 11. From left are Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik and Dillon's wife Maranda.

JANS – Nothing about Bird’s morning seemed to be going right and, truth be told, he may have been a little grumpy about it.

Hinds Community College Track Coach Reginald “Bird” Dillon wondered why his wife Maranda hung around their Raymond home instead of rushing off to work. “You’re going to be late,” he told her.

He also wondered why he couldn’t reach anyone on the phone the day before an out-of-state track meet – not Assistant Coach Willie Calvin or any of his student-athletes.

Then things got more puzzling when he got a phone call from Chief of Staff Renee Cotton asking him to come to a meeting at Fountain Hall.

He was met in the lobby by Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik, who apologized for disrupting his day as they walked into the Centennial Room. “I’m like, ‘Oh, Lord have mercy, what’s going on,’” Dillon recalled.

His brow furrowed in confusion when he saw a silent room full of people, including his wife and athletic staff. On a Thursday morning, April 11, none of those people were where they were supposed to be.

As Dr. Vacik started reading from his notes, a door opened behind them and Dillon’s elusive athletes filed into the room in a semicircle. He finally understood he was being recognized as the winner of the 3E Award, Emphasis on Excellence and Enrichment, the college’s highest award.

Typically, the honoree is named in a surprise announcement at the annual Employee Appreciation event, but Dillon and his track team would be out of state for a meet that day.

“He does not make this easy on people,” Dr. Vacik said.

Dillon, head track and field coach and Director of Football Operations, has been a Hinds employee since 1996. His tenure at Hinds has seen a remarkable amount of success, including 43 individual national championships and more than 180 All- Americans. He was also named as the 2008 NJCAA Coach of the Year.

His teams have been ranked annually as one of the top programs in the nation and he has sent untold numbers of athletes to four-year colleges around the nation.

He coached Olympians Trell Kimmons and Jeff Henderson, whom he remains close to, along with many other of his former athletes.

“The kids did most of it. I’m just there. I’m a good van driver,” Dillon said.

Athletic Director Nathan Werremeyer had a different viewpoint, however.

“Coach Dillon is a big part of the athletic department. He’s a big part of this college. He does so much for everybody. He’s the guy that is willing to give you the shirt off his back. He cares for all the kids, all the students and student-athletes. He’s just a great guy, salt of the earth,” Werremeyer said. “He loves this place, loves everybody here. I can’t think of anybody that deserves this award more than Coach Dillon.”

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Hinds CC 3E winner ‘cares for all the kids’

By Jackson Advocate News Service
June 30, 2024