Jeffers retires at Johnson County CC (KS)

Photo Courtesy JCCC Athletics

The Hall of Fame career of Johnson County Community College (KS) head coach Mike Jeffers came to a close, as his Cavaliers fell to cross-town rival Kansas City Kansas 75-68 in the Region VI Championship at the Hutchinson Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kan. 

Jeffers, who announced prior to the start of the season he would retire at the end of the campaign, finishes his career with mark of 499-390 over 29 seasons at the college. His overall head coach mark is 583-433 over 33 years. 

Here is the press release from the beginning of the season when he announced his retirement:

Johnson County Community College head men’s basketball coach Mike Jeffers will enter his 29th campaign when the team opens regular season play in early November. It will also be his last campaign. Jeffers announced today he will retire at the end of the 2019-20 season. 

“It’s the right decision,” Jeffers said. “Coaching is what I do, it’s not who I am. I am a different person when I put that whistle on and step into the gym, however you come to a point that you know it’s time. Time to move on and let someone else lead the charge. A few years ago I had a health scare, but now I am in good health and I while I am I want to be able to enjoy spending time with my family. It was truly a family decision. It’s has been a hell of a run, but its time.” 

Jeffers joined JCCC in May of 1991, after serving four years as head coach at Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Ga. He inherited a program that had been annually picked to finish near the bottom, if not the bottom, of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College (KJCCC) standings the previous 15 seasons. Twenty-eight years later Jeffers has built a nationally renowned program that is considered among the best at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II level.

“I’m sorry to lose coach Jeffers, but am happy for him personally as he moves on to his next chapter of his life,” said JCCC Athletics Director Randy Stange. “He has been a consistent winner at JCCC and his ability to develop players and teams has contributed to the success of his program and has heightened the profile of the college.”

Jeffers has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments, including the 2001 and 2009 NJCAA National Championships, a national runner-up finish in 2019, nine Region VI Tournament titles, three KJCCC D-II titles, one NABC National Coach of the Year award, two National Coach of the Tournament awards, two KABC Coach of the Year awards, three NJCAA District Coach of the Year awards, nine Region VI Coach of the Year awards and two East Jayhawk Conference Coach of Year selections. 

Jeffers has a career mark of 474-383 (.553) at JCCC, making him the all-time wins’ leader the program’s history.  Overall his record is 558-426 (.567) overall, which includes a four-year stint at Brewton-Parker College in Mt. Vernon, Ga. 

He is already one of the most successful coaches in Kansas Jayhawk Conference history. His 474 victories rank second all-time, trailing only Coffeyville’s Jay Herkelman with 634 wins.

Individually, players have excelled under Jeffers leadership. Thirteen Cavaliers have earned 15 total NJCAA All-America honors. Chris Lollar was the NJCAA Player of the Year in 2001, and Nafis Ricks was selected the NJCAA Player of the Year and NABC Junior College Player of the Year in 2009.

Also during his tenure as the Cavaliers coach, 58 of his players have been selected as All-East Jayhawk Conference performers, 58 All-Region VI selections, 10 national All-Tournament performers, two Jack Custriano Best Small Man Award, two National Tournament MVPs, two Kansas Jayhawk Conference Freshman of the Year, one Kansas Jayhawk Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and three Kansas Jayhawk Conference MVPs.

Even more impressive is Jeffers’ ability to take young talent and develop their skills, allowing them to grow as a player and eventually play at the next level. Since arriving at JCCC in 1991, Jeffers has had 72 players sign upper division scholarships to continue their careers.

A 2011 inductee into the JCCC Athletics Hall of Fame, Jeffers has led Johnson County to five NJCAA Tournament appearances and captured national titles twice, making him the only Kansas Jayhawk Conference men’s basketball coach to win multiple national championships. 

Jeffers says he is excited for the upcoming season. He returns six players from a team that recorded a school record 31 wins and finished runner-up at NJCAA D-II National Tournament. He also has added seven talented newcomers to fill out the roster. 

I really like this team,” Jeffers said. “I am impressed the freshmen we have and we have a great group of returning sophomores that have experienced playing for a national championship. They already have good chemistry.”
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