A native of Hattiesburg, MS, Billy Knight taught high school Mathematics in Biloxi and Pascagoula School Districts and later taught college mathematics at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Billy was head high school basketball coach and assistant football coach at Nichols and Carver high in Biloxi and Pascagoula respectively.
As a businessman, he owned a men’s clothing store, tuxedo rental business, photography studio, and computer/print shop. Billy came into his own in the field of public service as Executive Director of Jackson County Civic Action Committee, Inc. a human service agency that he directed for 13 years that was funded by local county government, state and federal governments, Jackson County Civic Action saw tremendous growth under his leadership.
Billy was recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Children and Families as the best Executive Director in the state of Mississippi in 1991. For 14 years, Billy was Executive Director of Singing River Education Association – Head Start Program in Lucedale, MS. He was producer and host of a community affairs program “Ebony Experience” later changed to “Coastal Views” which aired on WLOX-TV 13 in Biloxi for 20 years making it the longest-running program to date on WLOX-TV 13.
Billy was selected to be an Ambassador to Panama to promote Early Childhood Education in March 2004, representing the National Head Start Association and the state of Mississippi’s Early Childhood Development programs.
Certified by Franklin Covey Leadership Center, Billy is a Certified Leadership Consultant. He has conducted leadership and management workshops all over Mississippi, Southeast Region, and Washington, D.C.
Billy was inducted into the Mississippi Valley State University Football Hall of Fame on October 11, 1980, and he was inducted into the Southwest Athletic Conference (SWAC) Football Hall of Fame on May 23, 1997, in New Orleans, LA and he was inducted into the Mississippi Valley State National Alumni Association Hall of Fame on Valley State campus on May 7, 2004.
Among his many positions of leadership over the years, Billy was President of the Gulf Coast Health Care Foundation which raises funds for hospice care and indigent patients; Vice-President and President of the Moss Point School District, Board of Trustees; President of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church Pastoral Council; Project Manager for the new construction of the Rev. Charles E. McMahon Family Life Center and St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, both in Pascagoula, MS; and Former President of MVSU Jackson County Alumni Chapter for over 25 years. Billy first ran for mayor of Moss Point in May 1997, again in May 2017, and ultimately won in 2021.
Billy retired in 2013 but has never really stopped working, particularly when there was an opportunity to be of service to his community or his church. Billy is married to Lois Knight who was Principal of South and Lake Elementary Schools in Pascagoula, MS. They have one son, Billy, Jr.; 2 granddaughters, Precious and De’ja; two great granddaughters, Kayla, and Kiersten.
As Mayor of Moss Point, Billy’s goal is to follow his long-time motto, “Leave it Better than He Found it”.