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"Are You Fired Up?!?"

April 17, 2012
By John Battle of Sports and Family Magazine

Are You Fired Up?!?

That’s the question that author’s Joe Dean, Jr. and Ron Higgins ask as the title of the book of the same name.  Are you fired up?!?  is the story of the development of the Dixie Basketball Camp, in Summit, Mississippi, by  Joe Dean, Sr. (nicknamed The General),  a star basketball player at LSU and the school’s athletic director from 1987-2000.  One his last achievements at LSU was the hiring of Nick Saban as head coach of LSU football that lead to a national championship.

In 1966, Joe Dean, Sr. had been asked by Lakeside Oaks Basketball Camp founder, Brad Brian, a former LSU basketball player, and his camp partner and former teammate, Buddy Shirley, to head the camp.  It was situated on Brian’s parents’ property down Perkins Road in Baton Rouge, LA. 

The facilities at Lakeside Oaks Basketball Camp were primitive and small and for the first few years hosted about 20 boys, to include Joe Dean, Jr.  He says of the camp, “The heat was suffocating.  You’d wake up in the morning and the humidity was so thick you could see air.  You could just stand there and be drenched with sweat…And I absolutely loved it.”

Joe Dean, Sr. agreed only after a deal was struck to build a new bunkhouse to accommodate 50 boys, and the legacy began. Joe Dean, Jr. relates, “Time stood still at Lakeside Oaks.  For most us, it was the only time all year we were away from our parents.  So we had a great time, playing ball, doing a little gambling, playing a game of boo-ray, and laughing all day from the time we arrived at camp until the time we sadly left.”

After the arrival of Coach Dale Brown to LSU as the head basketball coach, the time to move Lakeside Oaks had come as Coach Brown introduced his own youth basketball program on the campus of LSU.  Joe Dean, Sr. knew he couldn’t compete with such a program. 

In 1974, an invitation had been offered to move the camp to Summit, Mississippi, the home to Southwest Mississippi Junior College and Horace Holmes, the school’s president.  “Coach” Holmes was a long-time friend of Joe Dean, Sr., and knew he was looking for a new location. With the move, a new name was declared: the Dixie Basketball Camp.

The camp grew over the next three decades to host over 500 boys every summer.  Bob Boyd, the former Mississippi State head coach once asked Joe Dean, Sr., “What are they doing at that camp down in Summit?” The reply was, “You can’t understand it – you have to live it.”

And lived they did.

Joe Dean, Jr. comments; “And that is what thousands of young, aspiring boys have experienced for nearly half a century.  The discipline, skill development, motivation, and enthusiasm is unlike that of any camp, anywhere…there is only one original Dixie Basketball Camp; and it continues on each summer in Summit at beautiful Southwest, inspiring boys of all ages, and creating a spirit in them and our coaches that is a ‘window into a person’s soul.’”

Are you fired up?!? is the inspirational story of these young men who over the years were challenged and coached to be prepared to succeed in the greatest arena of all – life. Read the book and you too will be inspired.  Are You Fired Up?!?!


 For more information and registration log onto: dixiebasketballcamp.com  


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