By Robert Wilson
Pillow Academy girls basketball coach Durwin Carpenter won his 1,100th game in his career in his first victory this season and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.
Carpenter, 70 years old and in his 48th season as a head coach, ranks second in the nation among active coaches in victories and 10th all time in career wins, second in Mississippi behind Doyle Wolverton, who won 1,249 games from 1975-2014 at Leake Academy.
Carpenter trails only Lamar Rogers of Clarkrange, Tenn., who has won 1,270 and began in 1976 among active coaches. Leta Andrews of Texas, who won 1,416 games from 1962-2014, is the all-time leading. Carpenter could possibly move into eighth place this season. He trails Rhonda Fairley of Texas (1,134 from 1975-2019) and Dorothy Gaters of Illinois (1,133 from 1975-2019).
Carpenter – who has four grandchildren (two in Greenwood and two in Destin, Fla.) – has won 743 games in his 28th season at Pillow and won 357 games in 20 seasons at Central Holmes Academy. The Grenada Rundle High, Holmes Community College and Delta State alumnus has won four MAIS Overall championships and 10 state titles.
“I love what I do, and I want to continue doing it as long as I can,” said Carpenter, whose assistant, Mignon Hodges, has been by his side from 2000-2008 and from 2013-present. “I’ve been blessed with good players and parents. I love to be in the gym with the kids. It’s rewarding to me to see them improve. I’d rather be doing this than administrative work. Every day is a new challenge. I want to help these girls grow up and be responsible.”
Pillow finished 23-6 last season and lost to Jackson Academy 54-52 in the first round of the Overall Tournament. The Lady Mustangs played the final five games of the season without leading scorer and Mississippi College signee Kaylee Jones due to season-ending knee injury.
Pillow is 1-1 this season with a win over Canton Academy and a loss to defending MAIS Overall champion Leake Academy. Pillow’s next game is Thursday against Winona Christian.
“We lost our top six girls from last year,” Carpenter said. “We had the same five starters for the last two years. We have a whole new starting five, including two sophomores.”