Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hawkins, Bowie try to put their own stamp on SHS basketball

HOLLANDALE — It’s hard to think of the Chicago Bulls without mentioning Michael Jordan.
Bring up the San Francisco 49ers and Jerry Rice automatically comes to mind.
And although Brett Favre has played for two other teams since leaving Green Bay, he’ll always be remembered as a Green Bay Packer.
And the same goes for Simmons High School basketball and longtime coach George Willis. It’s hard to mention one without mentioning the other.
However, in June after over 35 years of coaching both boys and girls basketball at Simmons, Willis called it a career, finishing as one of the state’s winningest coaches in history.
Now two former basketball standouts — in their own rights — have been passed the torch to lead the Blue Devils into a new era.
Festus Hawkins, who has played and coached in numerous professional, collegiate and prep ranks, will take over the boys progam, while Jessica Bowie, a former Millsaps standout, will lead the girls team.
Hawkins said he knows he’s replacing a legend, and it’ll be a challenge.
“There’s no blueprint for that,” said the former Harlem Globetrotter, who will be teaching World History and Mississippi Studies at Simmons.
The two new coaches, who came to Hollandale via the Mississippi Teachers Corp, said they will depend on each other to get the job done.
“We compliment each other well,” said Bowie, who recorded two triple doubles while at Millsaps.
Both coaches agreed that academics will be first priority.
“If you go to school, you should at least get a C, and if you put a little effort in it, you should get a B,” said Hawkins. “Education is your ticket out of any bad situation.
“It’s also a way to see the rest of the world," he added. “I can remember playing for the Globetrotters and being in three different states for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ate breakfast in California, had lunch in (the state of) Washington and drove to Portland, Ore. for dinner.”
Added Bowie: “Education is money. That's something no one can take from you.”
Bowie, who said she had many trials and tribulations while growing up in Texas, said she wants what's best for the students.
“When my mom walked out on me (and my siblings), 10 people offered for me to come stay with them,” she recalled.
“I just want the students to take pride in their (basketball) programs, while doing better for themselves.”
The 6-foot-11 Hawkins, who once played for former NBA superstar Daryl Dawkins, said the Simmons High can look forward to seeing him around for years to come.
“I plan on being here as long as they will take me,” he said. “I have a 10-year plan to see how many kids I can get to college. I want them to say I graduated 9 out of 10 kids.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

White named South Delta interim coach — for one year

ROLLING FORK — Anthony White has never had a chance to be a head football coach.
Now he’ll get a shot — at least for one season.
White, who spent the last couple years as South Delta High’s assistant offensive coach, has been named the team’s interim head coach for this upcoming season.
Last year’s head coach Derrick Hooker is scheduled to return next season after taking a sabbatical leave to earn an administrative degree at Delta State, said Superintendent Katherine Jackson.
“I’m excited to be here,” said White, who played a vital role in cooking up last year’s offensive scheme which guided the Bulldogs to a 8-4 record before losing to Belmont in the first round of the playoffs. “We want to win, it’s as simple as that.”
This may be White’s first time in the driver position, but he knows what he wants out of his team.
“We have three main priorities, said White. “No. 1, we want character building: each player must improve as a person. No. 2, we want academic excellence. We won’t settle for average. And No. 3, is football. We want to win ballgames.”
The team recently started practice with a seemingly record crowd of players: 45, White said.
And of the 45, there’s two players South Delta will be depending heavily on — sophomore quarterback Ricky Green and senior running back Reginald Brown.
Green had his best game of the season in last year’s playoff matchup against Belmont, where he throw for 170 yards and two touchdowns. And Brown is coming off a season where he nearly ran for 1,000 yards.
“We expect a lot out of Ricky,” said the interim head coach. “He’s matured over the offseason and we expect him to contribute throwing and running the ball.
“(Brown’s) attitude has improved tremendously. He’s more disciple and focused.”
South Delta is scheduled to open their season for the second straight year at McClain High on Aug. 20. They won last year’s game 8-6. They’ll then head down to take on Simmons High on Aug. 27.
As for how White think he will do as interim head coach?
“I’m just taking it day by day,” he said.

ONLY ONLINE: South Delta is also searching for a head boy's basketball coach. A current staff member will soon be named to take over the position, said Superintendent Kathernine Jackson, due to the rough economic times.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

$25K raised so far to support re-instated sports

GREENVILLE —  Approximately $25,000 has been raised so far for to support the once-suspended Greenville Public School sports, said Dr. Ilean Richards, of the Mississippi Center for Education Innovation.
Former NFL player Cleo Montgomery's $10,000 donation was matched by the Mississippi Center for Education Innovation (MCEI), and the other $5,000 have come from various donations, said Richards during a sports forum Friday at the Greenville Higher Education Center.
“And (the MCEI) is willing to give more funds if need be,” Richards said during the hour-long meeting, with about 30 people in attendance.
Baseball, soccer, slow-pitch softball, tennis, golf and powerlifting were recently re-instated by the district due to the efforts of the community to raise money to support the programs.
Another $20,575 is needed to reach the minimum amount listed to support all six sports this year.
As of now, the suspended sports are totally out of the hands of the school district; it’s up to the Greenville community to fund the non-revenue producing sports.
The first sports scheduled to take place are slow-pitch softball and soccer, which begin in August. Currently, GWHS is without a coach for slow-pitch softball. One person in attendance at the meeting, who said she has experience in softball, volunteered to help out if need be.
The volunteers who have pledged to help raise the needed funds will be targeting local business, churches and civic clubs to attain additional money.
Also, GWHS is still without a head basketball coach. Superintended Dr. Harvey Franklin said that a recommendation should be given to the school board by early next week.
Assistant coach Tyrone Lewis has taken over the program since Ernie Watson left for Hattiesburg in May.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Changing Lanes: After 17 years as a referee, Knight steps back into coaching ranks

GREENVILLE — Although Calvin Knight was not on the Greenville Christian boys basketball staff last season, he got several up-close looks at the Saints basketball team who won a state title and rallied their way deep into the MAIS Overall Tournament.
No, he wasn't a spectator sitting in stands.
An opposing coach? Nope.
A scout? That's not it.
He was a referee.
And now after spending 17 1/2 years as an area high school referee, the former Killeen (Texas) High School basketball coach will trade in his striped shirts and black pants for a dress shirt and slacks on gamedays.
He gets to keep his whistle, though.
And with a military background and over 17 years enforcing rules on the basketball court, GCS players will have to step in line — and stay there. Along with an hour of academic studying before practice each day, players will be required to sign a contract agreeing to certain principals, Knight said.
"(The contract) is going to let them know what I expect from them first as young men, then as players," said the former staff sergeant. "I let them know that we're not going to be followers; we're going to be leaders."
Under Jason Morgan last year, the Saints soared high, finishing 35-2 while capturing a state title and a run in the MAIS Overall Tournament. Morgan, who left in May for a coaching position in Tennessee, won nearly 80 percent of his games at GCS (140-37).
Knight said he knows he has big shoes to fill.
"For the last three years, he's basically mended this team together," he said. "He did a great job with the players."
Knight, who said he came back to the area to care for his ailing mother, said he will instill in his players that hard work reaps rewards. And that lesson doesn't just carry over onto on the court — but also in life. For instance, his new players recently approached him with a concern that they had been dealing with.
"They came and told me, 'coach we don't have matching shoes,'" he recalled. "I asked them how bad do you want them? If you want them we have to go get them. We'll raffle off tickets to get (matching) shoes."
Last season, Greenville Christian, a small 1A private school, played area public schools Riverside and Greenville-Weston. They beat Riverside 79-69, but were outmatched by GWHS in a game dubbed "Backyard Battle" 73-36.
Knight said he looks to more showdowns with larger, public schools.
"I want to schedule (public schools) first," said Knight, who added that he has talked with Gentry about a potential matchup. "I've been calling around the Delta, trying to play anybody they will play against us. I hope I can schedule at least nine public school games.
"And we look forward to playing (GWHS) at our house if they accept," he continued. "We really want to get them back for that. (Scheduling public schools) will make us better against private school teams."
As for now, Knight is preparing for the season by getting to know his new players and adding new one's who didn't come out last year.
The father of four — three girls and a son — said he looks forward to a great season amongst a family atmosphere at GCS.
"For now on, I'll have three daughters and 33 sons," he said.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MVSU, DSU to play pre-season game in Greenville

GREENVILLE — The Delta State and Mississippi Valley State basketball teams haven’t played each other since 2003.
On Nov. 8 that streak will end.
And what’s sweeter than that?
The two squads will be playing the exhibition game at the Washington County Convention Center.
This will mark the second straight year MVSU will play a game in Greenville. The Delta Devils played Arkansas-Pine Bluff back in January at the same location.
The matchup between MVSU and DSU should be quality entertainment with both teams adding key pieces — the Delta Devils have a heralded recruiting class and the Statesmen just inked Mississippi State transfer Phil Turner.
“It’s a great opportunity to play a quality opponent close to home,” DSU coach Jason Conner. “And it’ll be exciting for the folks in the area. Hopefully, it’ll be something we can look forward to every year.”
In other news, the MVSU men’s basketball team announced the signing of their fifth player this offseason. Terrence Joyner, a point guard from Genesis One Christian School in Mendenhall, is the latest recruit to announce his plans to head to Itta Bena.
“This is a testament of the work that (the) MVSU basketball staff is doing,” said MVSU coach Sean Woods, whose recruiting class has been ranked in the top 50 in the nation by “Assistant coaches Dylan Howard and Chico Potts have worked hard this summer looking for the right players to fit into our program.” This marks the second straight season MVSU has had a top 100 recruiting class.
At Genesis One, Joyner averaged 13 points, 9 assists and 3 steals. He is also rated the No.22 point guard in the nation according to, while ranks him as a three-star recruit.

MVSU picked to finish last in SWAC; 3 players named to preseason second-team

From staff reports

CUTLINE: MVSU head coach Karl Morgan (center) speaks to the media Tuesday during SWAC Media Day in Birmingham (Photo credit: Associated Press)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Mississippi Valley State football team knows the challenges it faces: a smaller than average athletic budget, stadium issues (three home football games, including the Oct. 2 homecoming showdown against Prairie View A&M have been moved to Greenville) and as of Tuesday, they were picked to finish last in the Eastern Division of the SWAC.
But don't look for the Delta Devils to just lay down and take what's predicted to come to them.
“I think that a lot of people do not know what to expect of us,” said MVSU sophomore receiver Chris Williams, who along with newly hired coach Karl Morgan and senior defensive lineman Reginald Foster, attended SWAC Media Day Tuesday at the Cahaba Grand Convention Center in Birmingham.
“While that sounds bad to a lot of people, all it means is that we have a lot of work to do,” the Birmingham native continued. “Truth be told, I feel like going to work out in the gym and on the field right now.”
The Devils did, however, receive some good news. Foster, senior linebacker Rory Malone and senior defensive back Markkus Davis were named to the preseason second team.
Foster finished last season with 59 tackles (9.5 for loss), five sacks and a pass breakup. Malone led the team in tackles with 76 (6.5 for loss), two sacks and an interception. Davis finished second on the team in tackles (72) and a sack and two pass breakups.
The days are now counting down until MVSU opens its season at Alabama State on Sept. 4. MVSU were last in the East in 2009, finishing 3-8 overall and 1-6 in the conference.
With low expectations surrounding the MVSU team, a couple surprises may be in the bag, said Foster.
“Being chosen fifth removes the target off our back, but also now we know that no expects much from us outside of our locker room, and (that's) cool,” he said. “We know how good we want to be, now we must go out and prove it on the field.”

Leflore County official wants MVSU football games in Greenwood

GREENVILLE — Mississippi Valley State football games seem to be a hot commodity.
After announcing that the team would play their three home games 45 miles away from Rice-Totten Stadium — in Greenville — Greenwood officials are wondering why they didn’t have the opportunity to host the matchups.
“(MVSU) officials made a decision without talking to anyone for assistance,” said Wayne Self, president of the Leflore County Board of Supervisors. “We’re trying to get with them to see what (games) we can get back (to Greenwood)”
As of right now, three games will be held at Greenville-Weston High: the Oct. 2 homecoming matchup against Prairie View A&M, Oct. 23 versus Grambling and Nov. 13 against Alabama A&M.
Self said Greenwood would like — at least — the homecoming game in Greenwood.
“It would take a lot of revenue out of (Greenwood),” he said. “(MVSU) football games are all we have in this area. Now they’re talking about moving basketball games.” The Nov. 8 Valley basketball game against Delta State has reportedly been moved to the Greenville Convention Center. No confirmation was available by press time.
Self said Leflore County would probably have the games at Greenwood High, but anywhere in the county would be an improvement.
“It bothers me tremendously. It would impact a lot of people,” said Self. “(MVSU officials) just up and took it (to Greenville). From what I’m told, they said we don’t support Valley. Leflore County supports Valley, and then some.”
A call to MVSU President Donna Oliver was not immediately returned.
Washington County Alumni President Willie Sullivan said he has not been informed about the possibility of MVSU games moving to Greenwood.

UPDATE: A MVSU public relations representative contacted me Tuesday afternoon to confirm that no changes have been made to the three football games. As of now, they will be played in Greenville.

Suspended sports make their return

GREENVILLE — The Greenville community got some good news Monday, after finding out that all six suspended public high school sports are on their way back.
At a Greenville School District meeting Monday, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to reinstate baseball, slow-pitch softball, soccer, golf and powerlifitng.
"If the support from the community is out there, I feel we should move on that," said board member, the Rev. Tommie Benson.
According to Superintendent Dr. Harvey Franklin approximately $20,000 has been raised so far, from community leaders, former professional athletes and civic clubs. Another $25,575 is needed to meet the minimum amount requested by the district.
Franklin expects that total to be collected in the coming weeks.
"We feel very comfortable to reinstate the suspended sports," said Franklin. "The programs will be up and running next month, a matter of fact, just around the corner....We're very excited."
Their will be another community fundraising meeting Friday at 10 a.m. at the Greenville Higher Education Center to discuss how the money will be collected.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Turner chooses DSU

Phil Turner has found a new home. The Grenada native "will take his talents" to Delta State University.
The 6-foot-3 combo guard who made regional news after having his scholarship yanked by Mississippi State will be playing in the Gulf South Conference next year.
"It was the best fit for me," said Turner, who was also considering Nebraska, UTEP, Georgetown, and Arkansas Tech among others. The former MSU forward said he will finish his final four classes at DSU.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Will the Delta catch soccer fever?

CUTLINE: Delta State soccer coach Jim Allen.

GREENVILLE —  An estimated 250,000 soccer fans flocked to South Africa this year for the World Cup.
Reportedly, nearly $5 billion in revenue was collected.
And 750 million people tuned in to watch the once-every-four-year phenomenon.
Put these numbers in perspective: About 155 million people watched Argentina upend Mexico, and another 20 million witnessed Ghana snatch the Americans dream in overtime, knocking them out of the tournament. The World Cup Final topped both of those, however, drawing in 24.3 million American viewers last Sunday.
But what does this all mean? Has soccer finally took center stage with the "big boys" of sports? Or is soccer just a month-long fad, and a prelude to "real" football?
And will it ever take off in the Delta?
Washington School and Delta State soccer coach Jim Allen thinks with several changes, anything is possible.
"If (the Delta) ever gets the time and staffing where we can set up a soccer academy and indoor facility, it may happen," said Allen, who once also coached boys soccer at Greenville-Weston High, which recently suspended its soccer program due to a $163,000 cut in the athletic budget.
One issue that may be stunting the growth of soccer in the Delta is the lack of public schools with soccer programs. GWHS recently suspended its soccer program, while smaller area schools Riverside, O'Bannon, Leland don't field soccer teams.
St. Joseph and Washington School, both private institutions, are one of the few Greenville area schools with a soccer program.
St. Joseph soccer coach Wade Chambers said the population decline the Delta, and lack of finances may be the culprit. Overall, the Delta has lost about 10 percent of its population in recent years, including about a 6,000 decrease in Greenville from 2000 to 2007.
"The population decline (in the Delta) really hurt," said Chambers, whose daughter plays on a summer traveling soccer team. "And this is traditionally a football, baseball and basketball state. St. Joseph, who competes against public schools, played in the 2005 girls soccer championship, but fell to Our Lady Academy in the championship game.
"And finances may be a problem, but then again, parents find the money for other sports, like AAU (basketball) teams," Chambers added.
Another dent in the chances soccer catches on the collegiate ranks is the competition level. Delta soccer players are usually beginners, while out of state opponents have a passion that runs deep, said Allen.
"We compete against a lot of international players who are 22 or 23 years old and come from bigger cities, and they've been playing since they were 4 or 5 years old," said Allen, who has coached both boys and girls soccer at DSU since 2003.
"It's tough for kids coming out of area schools, who have only played during their high school years, two or three months a year."
Competition level and high cost may be a problem, but also diversity plays a role, said Chambers. Approximately 70 percent of Greenville residents are African-American, so for the city and area to catch "soccer fever," African-Americans will have to become interested.
"For soccer to catch on, it's going to have to become popular among African-Americans," said Chambers.
But Chambers said, despite the current lack of interest in the Delta, soccer will remain a part of the area.
"We might see young parents, who once played soccer, with young kids. They may bring (soccer) back."

2 Washington County youth baseball teams make history

GREENVILLE — The 12 and under and 10 and under Washington County Dixie Youth baseball teams always wanted to be know what it felt like to be No. 1.
Now they know.
The 12 and under squad rallied back from a 5-0 deficit Monday night against Indinaola in the North Regional final to come away with a 10-6 victory.
It way as a day of a lot of first. They won their first regional, they got their first No.1 seed, and the sweetest of all — they’re headed to the state tournament in Pascagoula this weekend for the first time.
The 10 and under team also made history Monday by earning their first No.1 seed in the regional tournament, which will be held this weekend in Cleveland. They defeated Belzoni Monday 17-7 in Cleveland.
“I would tike to credit Nathaniel Boyd, Johnny Thomas, and Joel Wells for all of their hard work and keeping the kids in line,” said coach D’Andre Williams.

3 Oklahoma school leave conference; 6 GSC schools believed to be next

Kenneth Mister and wire reports

OKLAHOMA CITY — The six Arkansas Schools in the Gulf South Conference look to be on their way out.
The three Oklahoma schools, who have been in talks with the six Arkansas schools for weeks about joining to form their own Division II conference, have made the first move in turning rumors into reality.
The Lone Star Conference says three of its Oklahoma members plan to withdraw from the NCAA Division II league.
Conference Commissioner Stan Wagnon says the Richardson, Texas-based league has been notified that East Central University in Ada, Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant and Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford are leaving the conference. He says league policy makes their withdrawal effective in June 2012.
Once the nine schools combine, Delta State will be left in a conference with only five football-playing teams; six are needed for NCAA funding. DSU, a charter member of the GSC, has recently stood by their conference, adding that Lambuth and other schools may be joining the GSC.
The presidents of the three schools met Friday in Russellville, Ark., with leaders of six Arkansas Division II schools to discuss the possibility of forming a new conference in an attempt to reduce travel.
The three Oklahoma schools joined the Lone Star Conference in 1995. The conference has 16 members — nine in Texas, six in Oklahoma and one in New Mexico. Wagnon says he remains confident in the future success of the league.

Friday, July 9, 2010

GPS Superintendent wants all 6 sports back, expects tennis to return

GREENVILLE — Greenville school district superintendent Dr. Harvey Franklin says he doesn’t want just one of the six suspended sports reinstated, but would like to see them all brought back.
But one sport in particular most likely will remain in 2010-11, said Franklin.
“Seems like tennis is a go,” said Franklin. “But we would like to get all six back.”
At a special sports forum held Wednesday at the Washington County Convention Center, area businessman SB Buck said that he along with two others will volunteer to coach the boys and girls tennis squads.
With a minimum budget of $6,100, according to a athletic worksheet distributed by the district, tennis ranks as the third cheapest suspended sport to maintain, behind golf and powerlifting.
There will be another meeting next Friday, July 16, at the Greenville Higher Education Center (GHEC), to find out what financial commitments community leaders have come up with.
A recommendation will then be given to the school board Monday, July 19, said Franklin.
At Wednesday's meeting several people vowed to give $1,000 each, including Rep. John Hines, who said he had already raised $600.
At least $45,575 is needed to maintain the suspended sports in 2010-11.
If the community does raise the funds, what will happen the following year?
It will be “gauged by what we do this year,” according to Franklin, who added that the worst financial times will most likely come in 2012.

OBHS's Christian to coach North in all-star game

GREENVILLE — There will be a familiar face on the sidelines Saturday during the North-South Mississippi High School All-Star Game at Mississippi College.
O'Bannon High basketball coach George Christian will be an assistant coach for the North squad.
“It’s one of the greatest honor that you could receive as a coach,” said Christian.
The girls matchup is slated to tip off at 1 p.m. with the boys following at 3 p.m. There will also be a 3-point contest, slam dunk contest and an autograph session, which are are scheduled for tonight, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
There are no players from the Delta on either team. East Side’s Johnny O'Bryant was originally selected, however he is currently playing overseas for the U17 team.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A minimum of $45k needed to sustain suspended sports

CUTLINE: Greenville businessman SB Buck speaks to the panel Wednesday during the sports forum.

GREENVILLE — At a community sports forum Wednesday night at the Washington County Convention Center, community members and leaders found out the price to revive six axed sports: at least $45,000.
During the event, which was facilitated by Dr. Ilean Richards, of the Mississippi Center for Education Innovation, the public got a chance to voice their concerns, pledge donations and brainstorm ideas to save baseball, tennis, golf, soccer, slow-pitch softball and powerlifitng, which were suspended last month due to a $163,000 cut in the athletic budget.
Beforehand, Dr. Harvey Franklin, Greenville school superintendent, laid it out straight for the modest-sized crowd regarding the financial state of the district.
“Tax dollars can’t support (the suspended sports). The well has run dry, folks,” Franklin told an estimated crowd of about 70. “We don’t have the money.
“You’re going deeper and deeper in debt. Someone is going to take this district away. I’m being truthful, folks.”
During the meeting, several community leaders spoke about the importance of sports and the need for athletics in a school district badgered by a 90 percent poverty rate, according to Franklin.
“I see too many boys and girls walking around without anything to do. It’s our responsibility...somebody helped us along the way,” retired Coleman High and Mississippi Valley State coach Davis Weathersby told the panel. “I’m standing here today, (but) if it wasn’t for my high school coach, I wouldn’t be standing here. He put me in his car and carried me to college, didn’t charge me (anything), with two pair of pants and two t-shirts.
“He helped me and I’m willing to reach back and help someone else.”
Several others let their voices he heard during the forum, including two recent Greenville-Weston High graduates who earned athletic scholarships.
“We’re begging the community to keep these sports,” said Jimmetta Williams, a 2009 GWHS graduate and Hinds Community College tennis player. “If you suspend sports, they’re going to be on the streets doing nothing.”
S.B. Buck, who along with two others have proposed to voluntarily take over the tennis program, also spoke to the panel.
“We have placed 17 kids in college in 10 years. How many have you placed in basketball? How many in football,” Buck asked the panel. “This is the 32nd year (that) I’ve coached tennis and I hate to see the district just drop it.
“We’re going to put together whatever it takes to keep the tennis program going.”
But the sport that has been getting the most attention is baseball. If the suspension holds, GWHS will be the only 6A program without a baseball team. The sport has a $25,275 budget, but a minimal of $11,675 is needed to sustain the sport for the upcoming term.
People are needed in the stands on gamedays, Franklin told the crowd.
“Our attendance at baseball games are minimal, almost none,” he said.
Franklin also stated that area native and former NFL player Cleo Montgomery has pledged $10,000. Another $35,575 is needed before school starts August 4.
Several possibilities were brought up including school dances, concerts, car washes and fish fry’s, among other things.
MVSU will be hosting three of their home football games at GWHS this season. That’s another way to raise funds, said Franklin.
“How many of us will be at the concession stands? How many of us will park cars? How many are willing to do that” Franklin asked the crowd. “We could make between $10,000 to $20,000.”
Concerned citizen James Davis said the best way to save the programs is to get churches involved.
Franklin agreed.
“We have 155 churches (in the area). If we get $1,000 from each that’s $155,000,” he said.
Several people in attendance pledged to give funds to suspended programs, including Rep. John Hines, who said he has already raised $600 and will foot $400 out of his own pocket.
The minimum amount of $45,575 would only suffice for one year. More funds will be needed in the future. And the school district is facing more cuts, so the chances of the district solely funding the suspended sports later on is unlikely, said Franklin.
“The tough times are not in (2010-11),” he said. “There are no more stimulus funds after Sept. 3, 2011. After that date, we have nothing. If you think we had to cut this year, it’s really going to be bad next year.
The budget worksheet given out by the district included an idea of charging $3 to get into softball, baseball and soccer games Selling annual baseball and softball ads, costing $500 each, was also an idea listed.
The projected income, with an estimated 50 paid fans at each game and 10 sold ads? $9,500.
“Unless (President Barack Obama) comes up with a stimulus, more cuts will come.”
Near the end of the forum, Richards announced the next step in the process. There will be a meeting next Friday, July 16, at 10 a.m. at the Greenville Higher Education Center to come up with a committee, and iron out all the details.

Cost Breakdown

Boys Soccer
Total cost: $13,000
Minimum needed: $7,400

Girls Soccer
Total cost: $13,000
Minimum needed: $7,400

Total cost: 10,200
Minimum needed: $6,100

Total cost: $5,920
Minimum needed: $3,100

Slow-Pitch Softball
Toal cost: $12,700
Minimum needed: $7,100

Total cost: $25,275
Mininum needed: $11,675

Toal cost: $5,620
Minimum needed: $2,800

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Morgan takes leap into public school ranks

GREENVILLE – To Jason Morgan, his new test is his latest adventure.
And if his coaching record is a sign, the former Tri-State Christian Athletic Conference (TSCAC) coach of the year is up for the challenge.
After coaching basketball for nine years on the private school circuit – including winning nearly 80 percent (140-37) of his games at Greenville Christian the last three years – the 28-year-old now has taken his first job outside of Mississippi, and his first at a public school.
Morgan, who guided Greenville Christian to a 35-2 record and a trip to the MAIS Overall Tournament last season, recently accepted the coaching job at Brighton (Tenn.) High School, outside of Memphis.
But don’t feel sorry for the Saints; Morgan is leaving GCS in good shape.
Harry Williams, one of the top incoming seniors in the state, Keldrick Young, a 6-foot-6 junior with a giant upside, and senior 3-point marksman Justin Leavy all will return for the Saints.
“There are three or four guys that were going to be seniors and I feel like I left them early….but I did everything I could to teach them to be better men,” said Morgan, who led GCS to an Academy A championship last year and an Overall Tournament run before falling to Presbyterian Christian.
“They were state champions and they know what it takes to get to the top.”
The young coach, who got his first head coaching job before he turned 20 at Grace Christian School in 2001, brought a spark not only to the team, but to the fans as well. The “Morgan Maniacs” – some donning painted faces – showed up to support the team at home and on the road.
But now Morgan’s fan base swells from 300 at Greenville Christian to 1500 at Class 6A Brighton.
“It’s going to be a tremendous jump (from GCS to Brighton),” said Morgan, who said 60 students came out for tryouts in May. “We have to go through Memphis and they have a hub of talent.
“I knew soon as I got this job that I would have to raise everything I do to another level.”
Morgan said Calvin Knight, a former referee who worked two of GCS’s games last season, has now taken over the program.
With a quality coach in place, and Williams coming into his own, the Saints are in a position to make another run next season, Morgan said.
“(GCS) has a target on their back. They’re not going to sneak up on anyone,” said Morgan.
“(Williams) is the best player I’ve coached,” he added. “The guy wants it. He’s adapted well to every position change and has a bright future ahead of him.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Barrow gets old job back: athletic director

GREENVILLE — Greenville Public School superintendent Dr. Harvey Franklin confirmed this morning that David Barrow will again take over the duties as athletic director.
Barrow, who last served as AD during the 2008-09 term, takes over for Ernie Watson, who worked double duties as boys basketball coach and AD.
Franklin said Barrow’s familiarity with the community and school system was the key to the hire. Barrow worked as one of three assistant principals last year at Greenville-Weston High.
Attempts to reach Barrow by press time were unsuccessful. Look for more details in a later edition of the Delta Democrat Times.
Barrow takes over an athletic department which has suffered a huge hit, losing six of its sports to suspension due to an $163,000 cut in the athletic budget.
A open forum has been scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Washington County Convention Center to discuss the issue. The public is strongly encouraged to attend the event.

Friday, July 2, 2010

4 St. Joe players vying for QB job

GREENVILLE —  Replacing a starting quarterback isn’t always a cut and dry situation.
And it really doesn’t simplify things when the guy who left throw for nearly 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Those were former St. Joe quarterback Derrick Brown’s numbers last season, as he led the Fighting Irish to a 6-5 record to cap off his prep career.
Now that Brown won’t be in the huddle anymore, one of the four players competing for the starting gig should pick up right where he left off, said coach John Baker.
Led by last year’s backup quarterback junior lefty Jacob Reifers, the list includes sophomores Raines Rester and Kody Jenkins and freshman Josh Taylor.
With last year’s experience and spot-on passes during Thursday’s 7-on-7 games, although still an open position, Reifers is leading the pack, said Baker.
“(Reifers) has the experience and a real calm demeanor about him,” he said. “He knows a good bit of our plays and he started at receiver last year. So he’s seen both sides of the fence.”
Rester, a 6-foot-3 standout baseball player, played tight end last season. Jenkins was listed as a running back and defensive back last year while newcomer Taylor has thrown his name in the mix.
They all bring something different to the field, Baker said, and the competition will ultimately be a good thing for all four players.
“It’s going to to make them all better,” he said. “The ones that don’t get the job will help us in many other ways.”
St. Joe was on their homefield Thursday competing in the Passing League’s 7-on-7 games competing against Simmons, Yazoo City, Shaw, Leland, Humphreys County, Cleveland and Lakeside (Ark.).
The games are one way the Irish and other area teams have stayed in shape over the summer. Next week will be dead week, where players and coaches will get the week off.
Then it’ll be back to work, said Baker.
It’s all in preparation for a district which includes a a flood of talent including Durant, Coffeeville, Ray Brooks and Shaw.
“We, without a doubt, have the hardest district in single A,” Baker said. “Durant is a state championship team.....and Ray Brooks has won two state championships in the last 10 years.
“We have the most brutal district in 1A.”
St. Joe will open their season August 20 when they face rival Riverside.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Could Turner end up at DSU?

CLEVELAND — Mississippi State might not be interested in Phil Turner’s services anymore, but seemingly everyone is.
Tuner, who was recently released from his scholarship at MSU after his redshirt junior year, visited Delta State Wednesday.
“It was a nice visit,” said the Grenada native, who said he has gotten offers from a wide range of schools including Nebraska, Georgetown, Arkansas State and Western Kentucky. “It’s close to home, so that’s a good thing.”
His visit was first reported by the WABG television station.
Turner, a 6-foot-3 guard who made a name for himself by playing the power forward position at MSU despite his size, would be a great addition to the Statesmen squad, said a anonymous DSU insider who couldn’t reveal his name due to NCAA regulations. Instead of playing out of position, Turner would be able to move back to his natural spot: guard.
“We would be ecstatic if he came to DSU,” said the source, who once also recalled the recruitment former Southern Miss standout Jasper Johnson to Delta State. “(Turner) would play the 1 or 2 position for (DSU).”
And that would be right up Turner’s alley.
Turner, who has four classes remaining to complete his degree in educational psychology, said he wouldn’t mind landing at a Div-II school to improve his guard-play abilities.
“I want to get some reps in at the point guard position in order to improve my chances on the next level,” said Turner.
The source said Tuner, along with his parents, got a chance to meet several players, faculty and staff while on the visit. The short 45 minute drive from Grenada to Cleveland hopefully will be an added bonus.
“We would love for the whole city of Grenada to come fill up the gym,” he said.
Another added plus for DSU’s chances in landing the highly coveted education major is their well-known master’s degree program.
“If he wants to be an educator, what better place to get his master’s degree than DSU; we were founded as a teacher’s college. Everyone in the area does their certification work here,” said the source. DSU finished 19-8 overall, 10-4 in the Gulf South Conference last year.
And how does the source think Turner would fit in at DSU?
“I think he could be the player of the year in the league,” he said. “He’s a verbal leader, and (DSU) haven’t had that since Jasper Johnson. It would be great to have type of maturity.”
If Turner finishes his final four courses before the fall semester he would be free to attend any D-1 school. If not, he would have to sign with a D-II or D-III college.
Turner was released from his MSU scholarship after Stansbury said he missed a year-end meeting and told several people he would not be returning to Starkville. Turner, however, says he has text messages stating that the meeting was cancelled and that he told several others he would be returning for his redshirt senior season.
But whatever the case may be, DSU would welcome Turner with open arms.
“That young man would be a tremendous shot in the arm for our team,” he said.

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Hollandale gets wealth of experience in Hawkins

HOLLANDALE — Experience was the key for the Hollandale School District, as they searched for a new head boys basketball coach after the retirement of longtime coach George Willis.
With a resume that includes playing experience for the Harlem Globetrotters, American Basketball Association (ABA), New Zealand and the United States Basketball League (USBL), Festus Hawkins was just the man for the job. Hawkins was named Hollandale-Simmons' head boys basketball coach.
“(He) came to us from the Mississippi Teachers Corp through Ole Miss and was a blessing in disguise,” said Simmons principal Randy Grierson. “I recruited him as a teacher and came to find out he had an unbelievable basketball background to follow.
“Festus is 6-foot-10 of pure energy is going to bring a lot to the table through coaching and playing experience.”
Hawkins takes over for Willis, a who spent over 30 seasons coaching both girls and boys basketball at Simmons.
Hawkins, who played at the University of Illinois and Augusta State, formerly coached at Arkansas Pine-Bluff and won an AAU national championship in 2007.
Former Millsaps great Jessica Bowie, who holds the school's only women's triple doubles in school history (2008 and 2009), was tabbed as the high school girls basketball coach. Casey Clouse will take over the slow-pitch softball team.

Buck, 2 others want to voluntarily coach GWHS tennis

GREENVILLE — Proposals to save Greenville-Weston High sports continue to pour in.
Longtime tennis guru and area business owner S.B. Buck, along with Birlette Jerks and Harold Hall have offered to voluntarily coach the tennis squad, Buck said.
“With the help of us coming in and cutting the cost, I think tennis (will remain at GWHS),” he said.
Tennis, along with five other sports, were recently suspended by the Greenville School District.