Saturday, November 20, 2010

Double duties: Stovall coahing both GWHS basketball programs

GREENVILLE – After the Greenville-Weston girls basketball team walked off the court Friday night following their win over Humphreys County, GHWS coach Curtis Stovall stayed around.
Not just to shake the opposing team coach’s hand, but his night wasn’t over just yet. Following a $163,000 cut to the athletic budget, Stovall is now the head coach of both Greenville-Weston basketball teams.
But this isn’t the first time Stovall has had such duties. In the past, Stovall has served as the Greenville-Weston boys and girls junior varsity coach while assisting with both varsity teams.
He admits it’s a challenge coaching both high school teams, but it’s one he’s willing to take head-on.
“It’s a challenge; it’s not a problem,” said Stovall. “It’s a challenge that I welcome because it’s not like I haven’t done it before. It’s just on a larger stage now.”
As of Friday night, Stovall has led the Honeybees to a 2-2 record while the Hornets sit at 3-1.
Both teams are coming off an impressive 2009-10 campaign, where the Hornets closed out their season with a loss to Meridian in the Class 6A semifinals and the Honeybees fell to Horn Lake in the 6A championship game.
When the news broke that Stovall would be pulling double-duties, his Honeybee players thought “they were losing their coach.” But as time has passed, both sets of players have bought into the idea of sharing not only the basketball – but their coach as well.
“They’re beginning to buy in,” said Stovall. “I explained to them I need their help to help them. So they’re being a little bit more understanding.”
Some small high school coaches in the state have been known to pull double-duties – including legendary Hollandale Simmons’ coach George Willis, who made a big mark on both teams.
But that practice has been seldom used in 6A programs with larger athletic budgets. GWHS, however, had to slice $163,000 from its athletic budget, resulting in the suspension of six sports – baseball, slow-pitch softball, golf, soccer, tennis and power-lifting. The sports were eventually reinstated and volunteer coaches appointed to most of them.
In an effort to save money, Stovall, who coached only the girls team last year, was appointed as the coach of both high school teams on a temporary basis – at least for this year.
Stovall, who also teaches at the school, said he’s having the time of his life. He’s been in a similar position before and welcomes this opportunity with open arms.
“I’m just a little older,” said Stovall, “other than that I love it. This is a passion, not an interest. This is a passion.”
It’s not known yet whether Stovall will have the same duties next year, But as long as he’s in this position, he said will make the most of it.
“I just welcome any chance to impact a kid’s life, whether it’s on the court or off,” said Stovall. “I don’t know how long I will get to do this, but we’re going to make it fun while we have it.”

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