POPLARVILLE, Miss. — One of the best kickers to ever suit up in the maroon and gold is set to be inducted into the Pearl River Community College Athletics Hall of Fame presented by Keith's Superstores on July 30. Joining a Class of 2021 that also includes baseball's Jake Smith, women's soccer's Hannah McCarty and men's basketball's Darral Willis Jr. is All-State kicker Randy Boyette.
"This honor is very humbling," Boyette said. "I'm honored."
Tickets for the banquet and golf teams can still be secured by visiting PRCCAthletics.com/HOF or by calling Traci Spence at (601) 403-1193.
Originally from Philadelphia, Miss., Boyette's family moved to Amite and later Loranger, Louisiana, when he was little. It was during his youth that Boyette grew to love sports. His father was a head baseball and basketball coach who also was an assistant football coach, while his mother played professional basketball.
"I was a gym rat," Boyette said. "I played all sorts of sports. We didn't have baseball until I was a junior or senior, so I didn't play that but I did track. Basketball was probably my favorite because my mom was a professional back when they had six players on the court.
"I remember watching her play as a little kid."
Boyette eventually gravitated toward football, in part because of Punt, Pass and Kick competitions.
"I just always loved it," he said. "Back then they had the punt, pass and kick competitions and I always participated in that. I won the kicking part of it a few times and remember winning a jacket and some other cool things.
"I just always loved kicking and everything about it."
PLAYING AT PRCC
Despite being selected for the Louisiana all-star game and being named a blue chipper as a senior, Boyette was overlooked by college recruiters until PRCC coach J.C. Arban reached out. Pearl River was in need of a kicker and after a visit to Poplarville in the fall after his graduation, Boyette signed up to be a Wildcat ahead of the 1975 season.
As a freshman on Arban's 7-2 team, Boyette handled the kicking duties in addition to playing a little tight end and linebacker. It wasn't until his sophomore season in '76 that the Louisiana native — and Wildcats — really took off.
Sometimes kickers can be overlooked or taken for granted. However, Boyette played a huge role in the team's 9-2 State Championship season, converting 33 of 35 PATs; both numbers are still represented in PRCC's record book.
After a 4-2 start to the '76 campaign, Boyette kicked PRCC past East Central 3-0. His kick came with 13:55 remaining in the first half and the Wildcats held on from there to secure the win.
"I was just really blessed to be able to be a part of the team," Boyette said of the narrow victory.
PRCC won their next three contests to secure a spot in the State Championship Game against the same Northwest team that had handed PRCC a season-opening loss.
The second time around, however, Pearl River came away victorious, topping the Rangers 17-7.
"It was a whirlwind of a season looking back," Boyette said. "We were very grateful to beat up on them after they had whipped our tails in the season opener. That was a sweet, sweet win. If we would have beaten them the first game we would have gone to the junior college Rose Bowl. We had a good year. We had a solid core of kids on offense and defense. There were a number of those games that were close but we also had a handful of blowouts. I think a lot of the time the other team just got out coached, honestly.
"Coach Arban was a smart coach. Very smart. He was very analytical in his thinking and his assistants worked well with him. They did a phenomenal job."
Following the season, Boyette was named to the all-state squad and played in the all-star game.
ON TO SOUTHERN MISS
Boyette said he ended up at Southern Miss because of the JUCO all-star game.
"They sent a coach to the JUCO all-star game," he said. "They needed a kicker and Coach (Bobby) Collins asked me if I wanted to come kick for them."
The choice was simple and during his two seasons in Hattiesburg, Boyette was about as reliable as they come. In 1976 and '77, Boyette converted 23 of 25 PATs each season while also successfully kicking 10 field goals.
Boyette, who recently retired from teaching, is married to Dorothy Boyette. The couple have four children, Haley, Sarah, Michael and Stephen, and four grandchildren.
The golf tournament is a four-person scramble format and will be at 10 a.m. July 30. Each team is $600. The fee includes green fees, golf cart rental, food, beverages and a gift bag courtesy of BankPlus.
Anyone who wishes to participate is encouraged to register quickly as the amount of teams is limited at The Bridges. To register to play, or to become a sponsor, visit PRCCAthletics.com/HOF.
The banquet will include a Hall of Fame social hour from 5-6 p.m., followed by a general admission social hour from 6-7 p.m. The ceremony will start at 7 p.m.
Families can purchase individual dinner tickets for only $100. Sponsorship packages are also available for the banquet, beginning at $2,500. More information on sponsorship opportunities is available at PRCCAthletics.com/HOF.
ABOUT THE HALL OF FAME
The Pearl River Athletics Hall of Fame currently houses 134 of the greatest student athletes and coaches to represent The River. The Hall of Fame was established in 1988 with an eight-person class and has been an annual staple at PRCC with the exception of 2020; the ceremony was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
HOW TO NOMINATE
For a full list of PRCC Hall of Famers, visit PRCCAthletics.com/HOF/roster.
Know someone who's deserving of being enshrined? You can visit PRCCAthletics.com/HOF/Hall_of_Fame_nomination_form to fill out the nomination form.
by Patrick Ochs
Pearl River Community College
Director of Marketing & Communications