Coach Glenn Schmidt led Starkville Academy to three state championships in three weeks. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Championship teams need a championship coach to mold them.
That's what Glenn Schmidt provided for the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers.
After winning a Class 5A State Championship with the Starkville High School Lady Yellowjackets 20 years ago, Schmidt has experienced that feeling again this season with the Lady Vols.
Starkville Academy defeated Madison-Ridgeland Academy 50-39 to capture the MAIS Overall State Championship on Saturday and in typical Schmidt-style, she gave the players credit.
"Players win championships," Schmidt said. "I'm fortunate to be with and around that group. They've been championship material for a long time, but they just haven't had a chance to win one."
The Lady Vols won three state championships in three weeks with the Division II-Class AAA title, the Class AAA crown and now the Overall.
SA's April Burney said Schmidt put the team in position to win each one of those tournaments.
"If it wasn't for her, we wouldn't be here," Burney said. "She taught us everything we need to know to be a champion. She never gave up on us."
MRA coach Stephen Force, who saw his team lose to the Lady Vols in two of those finals, was impressed with how Schmidt's squad came together.
"She's got a terrific group of girls," Force said. "They are very talented and are incredibly athletic and good basketball players. She does a terrific job with them. I'm going to give them all the credit just like she would. She's like any coach and she's lucky to have such a great group."
Anna Lea Little, who transfered from Starkville Christian School, has seen her game develop over the last couple of years with SA.
She credits Schmidt for helping her and the whole team.
"She helped us work so hard and pushed us this season because she knew how good we could be," Little said. "She's a really good coach and helped each player get to the next level."
Starkville Academy football coach Jeff Terrill and boys basketball coach Mark Alexander have observed Schmidt going about her business on the court.
As a fellow basketball coach, Alexander can appreciate what Schmidt has accomplished.
"I'm so happy for her," Alexander said. "She's put in a lot of hard work. People don't realize how much she cares about basketball, cares about that team and cares about the school. It's good to see her rewarded for all of her hard work and dedication.
"They pretty much had the target on their back all year. Sometimes that's harder to do than come in as a Cinderella or underdog."
Schmidt also serves as athletic director of the Vols and Terrill appreciates the leadership qualities she possesses.
"We do admire the example she sets for all the coaches," Terrill said. "She is just class 24-7 and I don't think I've been around a better coach no matter the sport so we are proud for her."
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