SDN High School Girls Basketball Coach of the Year Glenn Schmidt instructs the Starkville Academy Lady Volunteers during a timeout last season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
Starkville Academy girls' basketball coach Glenn Schmidt has been coaching for 23 years, but this year was unlike any other.
"This is the best season I have ever had," Schmidt said. "For me as a person. it was very problem free and injury free. It was very enjoyable. As far as winning and losing, 38 out of 44 games, it was a dream season. It wasn't something that just happened."
With that success, Schmidt earned the honor as Starkville Daily News' Girls High School Coach of the Year.
Schmidt's team won the Class AAA, Division II State Championship, the Class AAA State Championship and the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Overall State Championship.
Schmidt had a feeling that her team was capable of winning entering the year after the way they ended last year. Her expectations were really high for the team.
"The expectations from our team were really high based on how we ended the season last year," Schmidt said. "I felt like they were very focused and very intent on picking up where they left off last year."
Schmidt never took credit when her team won. She believes that the wins belong to the players.
She takes all the blame for the losses and believes it is her job to see what went wrong and come up with a new gameplan to better prepare her team.
"When a team wins, players win," Schmidt said. "When a team loses, it's the coaches responsibility to analyze and figure out why. That is kind of the way I have approached this season and every season. When we win a game, it's because players executed and played a certain way to cause things to happen."
Her players describe her as an encouraging coach who cares for her players. They enjoy playing for her and respect her.
"She is going to yell at us when we mess up, but that is what any good coach will do." SA senior Anna Prestridge said. "She has been a great coach I know for me and the other girls. She pushes us because she knows how good we can be."
Sophomore Nora Kathryn Carroll knows she can trust coach Schmidt and has the upmost admiration for her.
"I enjoy having her as a coach because she makes us work hard," Carroll said. "We can trust her."
Schmidt has always approached coaching as a way to help young people. She knows that winning is a part of the game, but never discusses that with her players for two reasons.
"Firstly, I think winning is a by-product of everything else you do on a daily basis," Schmidt said. "I want to create an environment where the players are winners inside themselves. It will come out on the court and in practice.
"I think when you go out for a team sport or a team, you expect to win and you play to win so why would I need to talk about it? Why would be there, go through what they go through â€“ like 6 o'clock practices, take their summers and take their Christmas holidays? Why would they do all of that if they didn't want to win? We don't have to talk about it."
Carroll knows what Schmidt expects of her players, and knows that hard work will pay off and turn into wins.
"It's not really about winning and losing," Schmidt said. "It's about doing the little things right. Of course you want to win, but if you lose it's OK. You just have to work hard at it."
Schmidt has also approached the game with a defensive mind set. That was one of the reasons her team won three state titles this season. Her defense shut down the opposition and made it difficult for opposing point guards to set up any type of half court offense.
"There are nights when your offense doesn't quite (work)," Schmidt said. "You don't shoot well all the time and you don't pass well all the time. You can play defense anytime you want to. That is the foundation we like to build on."
Inspiring a team is a good trait a coach can possess. That was something she did all year and could have been seen by anyone who watched her coach.
Schmidt began the season getting her girls into the right mind set and inspired them to play to their potential.
"The biggest thing I talked to the players about at the beginning of the season was you have all the ingredients you need to do whatever you want to do on the basketball court this year," Schmidt said. "You have to continue to work hard. You have to stay together as a team and understand there will be different people that play different roles and everybody has to be willing to expect that.
"The weakness that I saw was we were going to have to work on mental toughness. When the going gets tough, we have to really recognize that we have to take our energy level up, our focus up and be intent on what we are doing so that pressure won't affect us."
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