Did ‘Last Chance U’ Season 3 Change Schools to Get Away From Coach Buddy Stephens?

Or was it to find a new Ms. Wagner? We asked director Greg Whitely both those questions and more

EMCC Coach Buddy Stephens on 'Last Chance U'
EMCC Coach Buddy Stephens on 'Last Chance U'

“Last Chance U” is getting a third chance at Netflix, and the new season will come complete with a new junior college.

On Thursday, the streaming giant revealed that its docuseries will go on — just not at Scooba’s East Mississippi Community College, where it has been set for the past two seasons. “Last Chance U” will instead head to Independence Community College in Kansas, which is coming off its first winning season in 10 years.

But why the departure from perennial national title contender EMCC, which will famously take pretty much anyone booted from a big Division I program over behavioral — or even criminal — reasons? TheWrap asked series director Greg Whitely exactly that.

We also pushed him on whether the decision had anything to do with EMCC Coach Buddy Stephens (pictured above) pretty much making a jerk out of himself over two trying seasons, or the fact that “Last Chance U” breakout star Brittany Wagner chose to leave the famous juco after last year’s craziness.

Here’s our Q&A:

TheWrap: Whose choice was it for production to leave EMCC? Why was that decision made?
When we originally developed the series, we initially planned on doing each season at a different junior college. The way the first season ended, with the team being eliminated from the playoffs and essentially all of their starters and coaching staff being suspended for the first game of the 2016 season, we felt that there was more to this story to be told and we decided to do a second season at EMCC.

The world of junior college football is incredibly vast and we want to be able to explore this deeper than just one school in one conference.

TW: Was Buddy’s actions/portrayal a catalyst for that decision?
GW: Definitely not, he was the main catalyst for us choosing to go there to begin with. After spending five minutes with him the first time we met, we knew this was the school we wanted to start with. We would love to be able to come back to EMCC someday to catch up with Buddy and the EMCC Lions.

TW: Was Brittany’s departure a catalyst?
GW: We are incredibly grateful to Brittany for opening up her life for us, but it’s immensely satisfying finding people who are doing amazing things and sharing their stories, whether it’s Brittany, an assistant coach like Davern Williams, or the people at Independence Community College.

One of the great privileges we have is to meet people, turn our cameras over to them and let their voice drive the narrative, what they hope they do with their life. You start to get a sense that there are portions of America whose stories are rarely told – that becomes the series.

“Last Chance U” is a Netflix production in association with Condé Nast Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment and One Potato Productions. The series is executive produced by Whiteley, Joe LaBracio, Dawn Ostroff, Lucas Smith, James Stern, Ben Cotner, Adam Del Deo and Lisa Nishimura.