Discipleship, Basketball, NCAATournament, BigDance, MarquetteMeBasketball, GoldenEagles, KamJones, SamfordMensBasketball, Bulldogs, ThomasKizer, AAU, WarEagles, ECSeagles, ECSalumni, Faith, Friendship

A Story of a Special Friendship between Two Sons & Their Fathers

Two class of 2021 ECS alumni and teammates since fourth grade are both headed to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament this week, Kam Jones with Marquette and Thomas Kizer with Samford. The friendship forged on the courts of AAU tournaments did not end with their last game as ECS seniors at the Tennessee State Division II-A Final Four. It continues today, as this seemingly unlikely pair encourages one another to live out the faith lessons their coaches and dads imparted to them.

How It Started

Basketball introduced Kameron Jones, currently a leading scorer for the Marquette men’s basketball team, and Thomas Kizer, who last year earned a coveted spot as a walk-on at Samford, when they were just 10 years old. Kam and Thomas got to know one another when they played on the same AAU basketball team, the War Eagles team coached by Thomas’ dad, Dr. David Kizer. Kam’s dad, Kevin, joined the team as an assistant coach.

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An Inspiring Story of Perseverance

In a world where only 5.6% of high school baseball players advance to play in college1  and a staggering .03% of Little Leaguers make it to the major leagues, Brent Rooker is living proof that big league dreams do come true!

After three years of trying to get his big break — bouncing back and forth between the majors and minors, getting traded twice and claimed on waivers — Brent continued to work while waiting for his opportunity. In 2023, Brent earned an everyday spot in the lineup with the Oakland A’s and on July 11, 2023, made his MLB All-Star debut!

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Morgan Cox (2005) is a five-time Pro-Bowler and Super Bowl Champion, and his #53 ECS jersey was retired recently in a special half-time ceremony on Legends Field. Morgan currently plays for the Tennessee Titans and is in his 14th year as a long snapper in the NFL. He spent his first 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and appeared in 165 games and 10 postseason contests. In 2011, Morgan earned the Ravens’ Ed Block Courage Award after returning from a significant injury suffered in 2010. In college, Morgan played in 38 games as the primary long snapper for the Tennessee Volunteers while earning his accounting degree.          

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Through the Lens of Houston Cofield: A Look at American Icons, Southern Culture and Grief

His subjects have ranged from Apple CEO Tim Cook to Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett to famous American actor Chuck Norris.

His credits include the top national and worldwide publications: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, Travel + Leisure, Garden & Gun, Golf Digest and Zeit Magazin (published in Germany).

Undoubtedly, Houston Cofield’s resume is impressive. He uses his art form of photography to document the key influencers of our time – and more importantly for him – he writes his own narrative of the American South.

One could say that it all started at the ECS Eagle’s Eye newspaper in 2006.

But perhaps it really started three generations ago.

Houston’s paternal grandfather and great grandfather were studio photographers in Mississippi and photographed renowned Southern author William Faulkner throughout his life.

"Having that in the background growing up was really special. I was never planning on being a photographer, but I find it kind of ironic that here I am doing the same thing now.”

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Flight 2021





Honoring Mrs. Marilyn Wray for Three Decades of Lower School Leadership

At ECS, our Lower School program is growing exponentially, which is why plans are currently underway to open a new Lower School campus at the Shelby Farms location beginning 2023-2024. We think it is appropriate to honor a foundational leader in our Lower School program.

Mrs. Marilyn Wray, former ECS lower school principal who served ECS for 31 years, was honored with a reception at the Lower School campus last spring as a part of the Grandparents Day presentation. Many of Mrs. Wray’s former teachers and students were present to celebrate her many years of dedicated service to ECS. Head of School Braxton Brady honored her at the conclusion of the program and presented her with a plaque to honor her leadership in helping to lay the foundation for our Lower School program.

But Mrs. Wray did not always set out to be an elementary school principal.

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Mark Brink Retires from ECS after 49 Years

The auditorium in the chapel bears his name. Selected as the first recipient of the Steve Collums Distinguished Faculty Award, he has served in many positions, from his most widely known roles as Bible department chair and beloved Bible teacher to his lesser known duties which have included varsity golf coach, after-school bus driver and painting volunteer, to name a few. Now, after 49 years of service to ECS, Mark Brink has retired from ECS.

Mr. Brink, often called “a true ECS legend,” has been faithfully preparing our oldest students for college and the real world for nearly five decades through teaching the book of Romans and apologetics, ethics and Christian worldview. His impact on students, teachers and faculty members is immeasurable.

“A spiritual leader at ECS and the ECS community.” - Coach John Roelofs, ECS colleague

On May 19, ECS hosted a retirement reception for Mr. Brink, and many current and former students, parents and colleagues flooded the White House to show appreciation to their beloved teacher and friend.

While most of us can’t imagine ECS Bible without Mr. Brink at the helm, he will be the first to tell you that he never set out to be a teacher.

First, some background…

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Bethany Stanfill Named Top 50 Most Influential Leaders in Mississippi

Bethany Stanfill (class of 2008) was recently recognized as one of the Top 50 Most Influential leaders in Mississippi for her role as a state legislative and executive lobbyist for Bryant Songy Snell Global Partners.

As a government affairs and fundraising professional now residing in Madison, Mississippi, Bethany designs strategy for corporations and investment offices, plans and schedules events, tracks legislation and speaks with members of the Mississippi legislature, agency heads and statewide elected officials. She is most proud that she is able to help solve problems and create opportunities for her clients.

“I love that every day is different, and I love connecting people,” Bethany said. “I never get bored and want to constantly keep learning and growing.”

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Coach John Roelofs Celebrates 50 Years of Service to ECS

As we celebrate Coach’s service to ECS for 50 years at Homecoming this year, we thank the Lord for using this man of God to disciple future generations of ECS students so faithfully for more than a half century. Click title to read more.