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Hugh Ray Bridges

Dr. Hugh Ray Bridges, 72, of Indianola, passed away Jan. 3, 2021, at South Sunflower County Hospital in Indianola. Ray was born Nov. 11, 1948, in Hazlehurst, to Russell Bridges and Jean Nelson Bridges. Ray graduated from Hazlehurst High School and attended Delta State University on athletic scholarships, where he still holds many records. After graduating from Delta State, Ray went to the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary School, where he received his doctorate degree.
Ray has ministered in many churches for 48 years and has most recently been the pastor of Moorhead Baptist Church since 2007. He was an experienced Bible scholar who never stopped studying the teachings of Christ. His faith in God was a positive influence that emanated through his teaching and coaching skills.
Ray did coach for a few years in New Orleans and for 10 years at Holmes Junior College. However, since 1967, he has been considered an integral part of Delta State University and was honored to coach many championship teams in football and cross country. In addition, Coach Bridges was highly revered for his knowledge and direction of NCAA compliance at Delta State University. A 1971 Delta State University graduate, Ray was a four-year punter for the Statesmen under head coach Horace McCool, and he was also a standout pole-vaulter, setting a school record with a 14-foot, 6-inch vault.
Coach Bridges received the Coaching Staff of the Year Award in 1981 at Holmes Junior College; in 1994, Coach Bridges was named the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year. However, one of Coach Bridges’ highest honors was in 1996 when he received the Dave “Boo” Ferriss Influence Award for the Most Influential Coach in the State of Mississippi. Following his retirement from Delta State University in 2009, he began coaching and teaching at Indianola Academy.
His passions for coaching and sports were surpassed only by that of his servitude for Christ. He mentored many students and adults over the years, and his testimony of faith shared through his ministry is immeasurable. Throughout his coaching and ministry, he also devoted time to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Dr. Bridges was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his wife, Sissy Sharp Bridges, of Indianola; daughters, Bethany (Brian) Hooks and Leigh (Bert) Pickard, both of Brandon; one son, Russ (Jennifer) Roden, of Greenwood; seven grandchildren, Walker Hooks, Cooper Hooks, Evie Pickard, Avery Pickard, Everett Pickard, William Roden, and Sam Roden. He is also survived by a brother, Rusty (Peggy) Bridges; and a sister, Tommy Mangum.
Graveside services were held Jan. 5 at Indianola City Cemetery, with Rev. Ron Burch officiating. Burton Funeral Home of Indianola was entrusted with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Blair Batson Children’s Hospital of Jackson, Mississippi Fellowship of Christian Athletes, or Moorhead Baptist Church.
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of wit nesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”