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Hattiesburg Names USM’s Coach McNelis as Grand Marshal for Parade of Champions

Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Tuesday, April 30, 2024, Mayor Toby Barker was joined by local high school and collegiate officials to announce Coach Joye Lee-McNelis as the Grand Marshal for the City’s upcoming Parade of Champions. The parade, which will take place on Monday, May 6, honors Hattiesburg-affiliated schools and college championships across athletics and academics for the current school year, underscoring the collective accomplishments of our students.

McNelis has been associated with the Lady Eagles’ program for approximately 40 years, with the last 20 as its head coach. McNelis was also a standout player for the Lady Eagles. Her personal Southern Miss story includes being the fifth Lady Eagle to score more than 1,000 points in her career. 

“We have a tradition of naming a grand marshal who epitomizes the commitment to the next generation,” said Barker. “And this year, I don’t think anyone in the City of Hattiesburg and beyond could picture a better display of selflessness, resilience, and pouring everything they have into the students and young people who will follow us than Coach Joye Lee-McNelis.”

McNelis joins the following line of local coaches to have served as Grand Marshal for this event: Coach Ernie Watson – Basketball, Hattiesburg Public School District (2023); Coach Joe Hartfield – Baseball, Hattiesburg Public School District (2019); and the Family of Coach Derek “Red” Jarvis, Sr. – Football, Hattiesburg Public School District (2018).

Barker added, “The Parade of Champions seeks to recognize the achievements of our students. Our students need to see their City stand firmly behind them, and I hope the community will join us as we celebrate with them.”

The parade route will roll from 2nd Avenue to West Pine Street to Front Street, then to Main Street, ending at the Hattiesburg Community Arts Center. The parade route will be closed to motorist traffic between 5 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., with the parade slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. The community is encouraged to attend. 




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