Demetrius Colson comes full circle with South Georgia Tech – student, athlete, graduate, employee, alumni and more
Demetrius Colson had several college basketball offers when he graduated from high school in Donalsonville, GA back in 2000. But he decided to hang up his tennis shoes and go to work. Eight months later, he knew he wanted to continue his education and he thought that athletics might help him realize that dream. South Georgia Technical College is glad he did.
Fast-forward 20 years later. Demetrius Colson is an alumni of South Georgia Technical College with his associate degree in Computer Information Systems. He was a star athlete, went on to a four-year university, and became an employee of South Georgia Technical College not once but twice. And now he is serving as the Lady Jets assistant basketball coach for the nationally ranked women’s team that is one win away from making their fourth consecutive trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association women’s basketball tournament in Lubbock, Texas.
Here is how his experience and success with South Georgia Technical College and the Technical College System of Georgia began. A high school mentor told Colson about a technical college in Americus, GA that was restarting its men’s intercollegiate basketball program and thought it might be a good fit. In 2001, Colson met with newly appointed head men’s basketball coach Chris Wade and convinced him to give him the last scholarship on the inaugural Jets intercollegiate basketball team.
“I was not a person who loved school,” said Colson. “I wanted to work. But I found out that to get a good job, I needed some type of skill. I went to work at a crate factory right out of high school and within eight months, I knew I needed to make a change.”
That decision and his determination has helped shaped Demetrius Colson’s professional career. “I told Coach Wade if he would take a chance on me – a player who would work hard, play defense, block shots, and score rather than give that scholarship to a player who would just score 30 points a game and not do anything else, he would not be sorry. He signed me and I didn’t let him down,” said Colson.
In fact, Demetrius Colson helped lead that first team in 2001 – 2002 to a 14 – 16 overall record and an 8 – 9 conference performance against other well established junior college teams in Georgia. The second year, Colson was the team captain, and the Jets went 16 – 16 and 10 – 8. They advanced to the second round of the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association state tournament finally losing to the nationally ranked Georgia Perimeter by three points. Colson was All-Conference that season.
After graduation from SGTC, Colson played basketball at Georgia Southwestern State University in 2004-2005 while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education. He left GSW to go back to work, but
basketball and the experience and nurturing that he received at South Georgia Technical College was still in his heart.
He returned to South Georgia Technical College in 2006 to work part-time for his former assistant coach Steven Wright who had taken over the reins from Chris Wade. The Jets went to the NJCAA National Tournament that second season with a 27 – 6 overall record and an 11 – 3 conference record. The Jets finished in the Elite Eight in the nation.
Colson worked his way up from that part-time position with the men’s basketball team to become the Lady Jets assistant coach with head coach Brandon Harrell in 2008. He and Coach Harrell combined their skills and talents to lead the Lady Jets to their first-ever NJCAA Region XVII national tournament during the 2009 – 2010 season. They stayed together from 2008 – through the 2012 season before they both left to go to Georgia Highlands in Rome and establish a women’s basketball team for the new two-year USG college.
Harrell and Colson coached together at Georgia Highlands until 2017. When an opening for assistant women’s basketball coach became available for the 2019 – 2020 season, SGTC President Dr. John Watford and Lady Jets head coach and SGTC Athletic Director James Frey hired Colson to come back
as a coach, instructor, and student-life assistant. “I am so thankful to be back,” said Colson. “I am thankful to SGTC for hiring me the first time and I am really grateful that SGTC President Dr. John Watford gave me the opportunity to come back this year and coach.”
There have been a lot of changes at SGTC over the past 20 years, but the one thing that has not changed in that 20 years is the dedication and support for the students by the college administration, faculty and staff. “I don’t know what I would be doing now if it had not been for South Georgia Technical College and the instructors, administrators, staff, and coaches who gave me the skills I needed to become successful in today’s world. The faces may have changed some in 20 years but they are still doing those same types of things for students today. We are making a difference!”
Colson believes that a two-year college is a tremendous asset for communities as well as the students like him. “We take people or students where they are right now and we give them the opportunities and skills to succeed. Sometimes people need different things to be successful. They may need help with their grades, skills, personal issues or whatever may be holding them back and we develop them physically, academically, and socially so they can go out into the workforce and be successful. That is what South Georgia Tech did for me,” added Colson.
Demetrius Colson is joining head coach James Frey and the Lady Jets on the bus to Spartanburg, South Carolina to play Spartanburg Methodist in the District J Championship match-up on Saturday, March 7th at 1 p.m. A win against the Region 10 champions will allow the Lady Jets to return to the NJCAA National Tournament for the fourth consecutive year and sixth time in eight years.
Colson is no stranger to the national tournament. He went with the SGTC Jets and the Lady Jets on their first trip there. He also helped Georgia Highlands make that trip and now he wants to be a part of helping the Lady Jets go back. But even more importantly he is focused on helping the Lady Jets and the other South Georgia Technical College students become successful at the next level.