Biloxi honors Notre Dame coaching legends

Former Notre Dame High School athletes will gather Friday at the old school gym to celebrate the enduring legacy of coaching standouts Charles Hegwood and Tony Cintgran.

What started as an idea to informally remember the Catholic boys school’s legendary football coach has mushroomed into an afternoon of celebration of the careers of both Hegwood and Cintgran, his longtime assistant and head baseball coach.

Standout players from the 50s, 60s and 70s plan to recall their special moments under Hegwood’s and Cintgran’s tutelage. Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich will present proclamations honoring the two coaches, and Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Both were standout athletes at Notre Dame in the 1960s.

“This is a great opportunity to remember the lasting influence each of these coaches had on our high school careers and our lives,” Gilich said. “They were both very successful coaches who taught us as much about life as about sports.”

The event begins with a tailgate party from noon to 2:30 at the former Notre Dame Gym, which is currently used for City recreational activities. Mayor Gilich will begin the brief formal program at 3 p.m. with a presentation to the families of both coaches. Former players will have an opportunity to share their special memories and live music will be provided afterward.

All former athletes, coaches and competitors are invited to attend the free event. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own tailgate food and beverages.

Considered an offensive innovator, Hegwood coached football at Notre Dame for 28 years. A native of Smith County, he died in 2001 at the age of 87. A graduate of Millsaps, he also attended the U.S. Naval Academy and was a veteran of WWII. His Notre Dame teams produced many outstanding college athletes and won numerous conference titles. He also was the school’s top math instructor. During his tenure, Notre Dame was the first Coast high school – and one of the first in the State of Mississippi – to use African American players on its sports teams. Hegwood’s lengthy career earned him induction into the City of Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame.

After retiring from coaching and teaching, Hegwood served Biloxi as manager of the City’s farmer’s market at Point Cadet. For many years now it has been known as the Charles R. Hegwood Farmer’s Market.

Born in Gunnison, MS in 1930, Cintgran assisted Hegwood in coaching football, but carved out his own legacy as an immensely successful head baseball coach. After starting his coaching career in the Delta, Cintgran joined Hegwood at Notre Dame in 1957, and produced an undefeated team in 1959. His baseball teams won numerous District Championships, three State titles and always fared successfully against much larger schools. He moved back to the Delta in 1968 and continued successful coaching and teaching careers, and was a respected school administrator until his death in 1998.


Steady numbers reported last week

Business remains steady in the Community Development Department last week with the issuing of 32 permits with a construction valuation of $23,000.  

Meantime, calls for service in the Police Department decreased slightly last week with a reported 2,062 calls for service, generating 102 arrests.  The Biloxi Fire Department’s call volume remained steady with 131 calls for service, including 97 for medical and one structure fire.
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News and notes

East Biloxi historical meeting: A public meeting is set for Thursday, Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m. to receive input on the African-American commercial district in east Biloxi.  To read more about the meeting, click here.

Special needs dance: The Parks & Recreation Department will hold its annual Special Needs Winter Formal on Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center.  To read more about this free event, click here