Is Last Chance U’s EMCC redefining careers?


East Mississippi Community College is a school made for second chances, allowing young men to achieve their dreams.

Last Chance U is the story of one junior college: East Mississippi and its dominant football team. The kids attend EMCC when they are kicked out of their first college due to grades or behavioral issues. The major theme of the team is keeping the players’ grades up to get a Division 1 scholarship.

EMCC takes to the field for another dominant JUCO showcase of football. (Photo by: temporaryknucksline)

A very distinctive quality about this show was its realness. Lives are on the line because most of these young men could succeed in a normal work environment: they put all their eggs in one basket. And that basket is playing in the NFL.

The character with the most development  in Last Chance U is  head coach Buddy Stephens. In the beginning of Season 1, Buddy was a hothead, always cursing and ripping apart the players over mistakes. The interesting thing is watching him change into a better version of himself.

Hot-Headed EMCC Head Coach Buddy Stephens pushes new athletes to be better players
(Photo by: blackheartgoldpants)

Another main focus of this docudrama is counselor Miss Wagner. Her sole job is getting these men’s grades up to Division 1 schools’ liking.

Supporting characters around Buddy would obviously be the team. However, after every season, half the team leaves to other colleges, and a new wave of struggling men are brought onto the squad. The other coaching staff members, working around the unpredictable Buddy Stephens, are also trying to continue the school’s football legacy.

One of the tech aspects that I admire is when the cameras follow the team into the locker rooms for halftime during games. This is where Buddy and the other coaching staff comes together to either reel in a struggling team, or highlight a dominant one. It is very interesting to see the dynamic between Stephens and the young men.

Courteous and Calming Ms. Wagner assists EMCC by enforcing good grades towards struggling student-athletes
(Photo by: footballscoop)

Last Chance U has a very ominous vibe surrounding it. The thought of a young man nearly losing everything, only to fight to gain it back makes for a very interesting show.