Thursday, July 7, 2005

Byhalia’s Echols signs with Rangers
  • Mom pushes son to achieve

You would think that a story of a young man receiving a football scholarship would give details of long practices of blood, sweat, and tears and game exploits, but this is really a story of a mother’s love, determination and demanding demeanor which pushed this young man to this success.

Terrence Echols wore number 59 for the last five years at Byhalia High School as right tackle and defensive lineman. He also played baseball for the past two seasons for Byhalia. He graduated on Saturday, May 21.

“He is a hard worker, always giving it his all, both athletically and academically,” head coach Gaylon Jones said. “You know he is a hard worker because he finished high school in three years due to a failure in elementary school. “

Terrence was accepted at the University of Mississippi and was registered for classes, which his mother was instrumental in accomplishing. But, he thought he might give Northwest Community College a try to be better prepared academically and to have a chance at playing football, so he went to Senatobia for a practice. The coach liked what he saw and signed him.

Coach Jones has worked with Terrence since he was a seventh grader when Jones came to Byhalia to get the football program started back after a 20-year hiatus. Coach Jones said whatever he asked of Terrence he did, whether it was playing a different position to being a leader in the locker and weight room. In fact, he is working out in the weight room this summer to get prepared for his college career.

Jones said, “Terrence’s career is unusual in many ways. No one that I ever heard of can say he is a five-year starter on a varsity football team when he finished high school in three years. This makes Terrence all that more remarkable.”

Along with their mother, Terrence and his brother Terry came to the first startup football meeting held in the library at the old high school during the 1999-2000 school year.

“Due to academic problems, Terry was deemed ineligible after just a few days of practice, but I could tell by the pounding that Terrence was able to dole out to his older, heavier, and much taller brother that I had someone very special,” Jones said.

“But it isn’t just Terrence that I discovered to be special. He can attribute his successful high school career to his mother, Linda Echols Duncan. The love, affection, and determination Terrence received from his family helped him to succeed where many others have failed. I believe for the Byhalia athletic and academic programs to succeed we need more Lindas.”

Terrence’s success is indeed due in part to his mother, Linda. She was a single parent for many of Terrence’s formative years. Two years ago, she married Kenneth Duncan, who has also been a positive influence on Terrence.

Linda is the kind of parent the teachers dream about and most kids don’t appreciate until they’re older, according to school officials.

Linda attended every Open House the school had, regularly requested parent conferences just to “check on” her son, attended all of his football games – home and away, and attended most of his baseball games even though he rarely started.

Linda is also an active member of the Byhalia Athletic Booster Club.

“She is an excellent example of a great mom,” Coach Jones said. “Students and teachers need more great, caring, involved moms like Linda.”

Come to Senatobia this fall, you’ll see Terrence (6’1” and 305 lbs.) on the field for Northwest and Linda in the stands.

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