Vicksburg native Chris Lacey started Do Better University to help young men be better athletes and be better in society.
Lacey, Vicksburg Junior High’s defensive coordinator, formed the organization with the help of former local athletes including Cedric Jackson, Marcus Allen, Victor Tyrone, Ryan Williams and Fred Thomas.
DBU began in 2014 by focusing on getting local players the notoriety that Vicksburg athletes often don’t get from big universities.
“We wanted to get more exposure for the kids and help develop the skills they were lacking,” Lacey said.
DBU helped organize a team to travel for football 7-on-7 tournaments—which are short, 20-minute games with seven players on either side—so they could show off their talents to big colleges.
Both local Vicksburg players and those from surrounding communities joined DBU. Local athletes such as Jesse Wilson, Corey Wilson Jr., and Raheem Moore joined, along with Kenneth Gainwell who is now the starting running back at Memphis University.
The DBU trainers took in whoever was willing to join. They thought of it more as helping than anything else.
“It was the perfect way to give back to our community,” said Cedrick Jackson, who is a DBU trainer and assistant offensive line coach at Warren Central High School.
DBU has gotten support throughout the community from a diverse group of people including Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield, Vicksburg Police Sgt. Tommy Curtis and business owner Deonta Selvy.
Lacey and Jackson escorted DBU athletes to tournaments at Louisiana State and the University of Tennessee among others.
“We came out wearing dry-fit T-shirts while everyone else had on Nike, but through our hard work and nonstop determination, we were able to defeat teams from bigger communities in Alabama and Tennessee,” Lacey said.
DBU became so noticeable they ended up being sponsored by Battle Sports, so they no longer had to pay for uniforms.
In the five years of DBU’s existence, every player who joined eventually went off to play college football.
“DBU is not only a great experience for players but coaches as well,” Jackson said, adding, “I never thought I would be on the same field that Peyton Manning played on.”
There was never a fee for athletes to join DBU. They pay for their food on the road, most of which is picked up by parents and community members. DBU picks up the cost of transportation.
Because Lacey and Jackson both have coaching jobs, DBU is now more active during the football off season, but they plan on keeping the program active. Both men played football at Mississippi College in 2009 where they won the American Southwest Conference. The two know what it takes to succeed, which is why they continue to expand the program.
For more information about Do Better University, call Chris Lacey at 601-831-0956.See a typo? Report it here.