Smith sees success: SHS AD experiences four state titles in 2 1/2 years

SHS Athletic Director Milton Smith, left, introduces football coach Chris Jones.
Staff Writer

Milton Smith has watched the Starkville High School athletic program succeed over the last 2 1/2 years.

During his stint as the school's athletic director Smith has experienced four state championships and was proud to be a part of them.

His fondest moment was seeing the Yellowjackets win the 2015 Class 6A State football championship when his son Milton Jr. was on the team. The other championships during Smith's tenure were boys basketball in 2015, girls bowling in 2016 and girls basketball earlier this year.

"It was special to win a state championship with my son," Milton Sr. said. "You enjoy all of them – the one that Greg (Carter) won, the one that Kristie (Williams) won and the one that Jim Philamlee won.
"The kids have done well. The coaches have done well with four championships in 2 1/2 years so it was a pretty good run there."

Smith nearly saw his second football state championship in three years this month when coach Chris Jones' Jackets reached the Class 6A title game, but fell to Pearl 21-17.

After searching and bringing Jones in after the departure of Ricky Woods, Smith was pleased with the first football season under the new leadership.

"Coach Jones has done a great job coming in," Smith said. "He installed his offense and put all new coaches in. He really ran the show with those kids."

After 2 1/2 years with SHS, Smith has decided to retire and move on to other aspects of his life.

The former athlete with the Jackets, who moved on to play defensive back with the Mississippi State Bulldogs would have liked to have been with his alma mater a little bit longer, but felt the administration was ready for a change.

Smith will step down at the end of the fall semester in a couple of weeks.

"Kind of disappointed to only be here 2 1/2 years," Smith said. "It took me 17 years to come home. God has got something else for me. Administration decided to go a different direction and I was fortunate enough to have my years in where I could retire."

Following a special school board meeting to announce that C. Cheyenne Trussell would become the new athletic director, Starkville-Oktibbeha County School Superintendent Eddie Peasant said Smith left the department in good shape moving forward.

“We just appreciate everything he’s done for our students, our coaches and our athletic program,” Peasant said. “We feel like we have a really good foundation to build on and to move forward. Also, we want to wish him the best in his retirement.”

Milton Jr. will be finishing up his time in baseball at Meridian Community College in the spring and now his father will have more time to go watch him play. Milton Jr. signed to continue his career at Arkansas-Little Rock after junior college.

"I'll have the freedom to go see him play," Milton Sr. said. "I went to see him play a lot last year, but now I don't have to ask anybody."