Starkville Academy athletic director Glenn Schmidt, left, credits the coaches and players at the school for the success of the 2011-12 year. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Winning and playing for state championships became a common theme for the 2011-12 athletic year for the Starkville Academy Volunteers.
It was the way the Vols went about achieving that success that pleased SA athletic director Glenn Schmidt the most.
"It's very positive and many people are excited," Schmidt said. "They always say it's a great time to be a Volunteer. All of that doesn't happen without dedicated coaches who are willing to work and players willing to work and sacrifice. Many of our athletes that played on these championship teams played two and three other sports."
Starkville Academy won Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall State championships in girls basketball and in cheerleading, which falls under the athletic department umbrella. Baseball and football, at the varsity and junior high levels, won South State titles and had the chance to compete for state crowns.
Both soccer teams made the playoffs, the golf team had the experience on the state stage and various athletes competed at state in cross country, track and swimming. There was also measured improvement of other sports like tennis.
"Across the board in terms of wins and losses and that's what many people measure success by, it was there and to be documented," Schmidt said. "(Administration) measures success by seeing improvement in every program, seeing people excited about it and seeing more youngsters going out for our sports. It's just an overall sense of well-being and moving up a notch."
With the success of football, baseball and girls basketball, the Vols compared favorably with the other MAIS Class 3A schools.
Starkville Academy was the only 3A school, out of 14, that played for state championships in the three major sports.
"That's important to me and we always compare ourselves to bigger schools," Schmidt said. "That's very exciting to know we did that in three sports.
"(Girls basketball) winning the overall state championship was extremely important and in football playing for a state championship after so many years ago that we had such a poor record and baseball turning that situation around drastically."
Football coach Jeff Terrill and baseball coach Neal Henry were recognized with Coach of Year honors and Schmidt received the honor from the MAIS on Tuesday.
Even though coaches are singled out when things go well, Schmidt understands the wide scope of the situation.
"All of our coaches, athletes and support groups have really attributed to this," Schmidt said.
The Vols will see a bit of transition in three assistant positions in the three major sports.
Brad Butler joins the football staff as defensive coordinator and replaces Bubba Davis, while the search has begun to fill assistant spots left vacant by David Sanders in boys basketball and Casey Orr in baseball.
Schmidt calls Davis "a legend andÂ close friend" for her and Terrill, but looks forward to working with Butler again.
"We had a legend with us for a year, and we have replaced him with a future legend in Brad Butler," Schmidt said. "At the end of his coaching career, they will be saying the same things about (Butler) that they are saying about Bubba Davis. I've worked with Brad Butler before and it was a pleasure. He's a very professional young man and it's a huge hire for us.
"We hate to lose (Sanders and Orr). (Sanders') wife Maranda is taking a head-coaching job in Texas at Concordia College so we hate to lose him after a year. We're interviewing for his position, but for the most part, our head-coaching spots are solid and will return our head-coaching staffs so that will be consistent for our youngsters."
Starkville Academy athletics doesn't plan to rest on last year's success.
Even though there has been some championships won and progress made, the Vols plan to achieve more.
"You always want to do better than you did before and set higher goals," Schmidt said. "We've got two teams that want to win the state championships they played for, one that wants to defend it and others that want to play for it. We all want to take a step up across the board."
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