Born and Raised!
Most of us call one city or town our hometown. We might move or raise our families elsewhere, but usually one place is designated as home. UTEP head coach Tim Floyd can call two places home. Floyd was born in Hattiesburg, lived in El Paso as an infant, toddler, and small child, and moved back to Hattiesburg in 1962. According to Tim, Lee moved back to his home town of El Paso shortly after Tim was born in 1954 because he could not raise a family on a coach's salary. Lee ran a gas station in El Paso until the Eagles came calling again in 1962. Coaching and teaching basketball is in the Floyd blood and Lee couldn't turn down what may have been his last opportunity to coach at the collegiate level.
Tim Floyd's mother Alice still lives in Hattiesburg, but her friends and family affectionately refer to her as Miss Dupie. According to my mother Marina, Miss Dupie's annual Halloween party is one of the most looked forward to social events of the year in Hattiesburg.
It is likely a wave of emotion and nostalgia will sweep over Floyd when he sets foot in venerable Reed Green Coliseum, the same building his father coached in from 1965-1971. That nostalgia won't last long because this is a business trip for Tim Floyd and the Miners. Floyd's old friend and assistant Larry Eustachy has Southern Miss. playing quality basketball.
The Golden Eagles are 18-6 and just one game behind the Miners in the C-USA standings at 7-4. Southern Miss. is an impressive 10-1 at home. The one loss was to Memphis on a last second shot. The Miners will also have their hands full trying to guard C-USA player of the year candidate Gary Flowers. Like Papa Dia at SMU, Flowers is a big guy who can shoot from the outside. In 23 games the senior is averaging nearly 20 points and 8 boards and shoots a smooth 44% from three point land. If the Miners can get a victory in Hattiesburg they will hold on to first place in C-USA and reach the 20 wins for the third straight season.