Yellowjackets ready to work with Trussell

Cheyenne Trussell, left, visits with Greg Carter
Staff Writer

Cheyenne Trussell is a builder of programs.

That’s what impressed Starkville High School girls basketball coach Kristie Williams so much about him.

As a member of the selection committee to find a new athletic director for the Starkville Oktibbeha County School District, Williams said the ability of Trussell to establish and improve a high school athletic department is what stood out in her mind during the search process.

That’s what he's done for the Hattiesburg Public School District since 2002.

“He is a very humble man that has a lot of the understanding of what it takes to build a program,” Williams said. “He is coming from one that he has built in 15 years and now he’s coming to our house to help polish up some things that maybe we can do better and continue to do the things we’ve already exceeded at doing.

“It’s going to be a great example for younger coaches coming in and the more experienced ones to continue to learn with someone that’s been in the trenches like we have. He is a golden person to have in our district right now.”

Trussell had Hattiesburg High School at the peak of success this year as all of its varsity sports were elected to the MHSAA Scholarly Team with a 3.0 or higher grade point average and ranked No. 7 in the ALL Sports Award voting in Class 5A.

Losing a leader like Trussell will hurt Hattiesburg and that’s what its head football coach Tony Vance told SHS coach Chris Jones.

“The day they made the announcement (Vance) said, ‘you’ve got me down here crying. You just took the best AD in the state and you’ve got a good one,’ so I’m looking forward to it," Jones said. "I heard he is going to do some good things and he’s got a good track record.”

Not only has Trussell worked in a large area like Hattiesburg, but he also has experience as assistant director of athletics in the Jackson Public School District from 1999-2002.

During his time in Jackson, Trussell was responsible for scheduling, coordinate and direct the Interscholastic Athletic Programs of the district. He also served as a representative to the Mississippi High School Activities Association.

The Jackets welcomed Trussell to town on Wednesday during a press conference and the coaches are ready to jump in there with him and go to work.

“Sounds like it’s going to be fun,” SHS baseball coach Travis Garner said. “You talk about a guy with a lot of experience at big schools. It seems he is all about athletics, all about the kids and all about the coaches.”

Trussell is eager to get started. He takes over for Milton Smith, who announced his retirement effective at the end of the fall semester.

The coaches are thankful for everything Smith did during his 2 1/2 years as athletic director of the Jackets, but are also ready to see what ideas Trussell brings to the table.

It may be a new era at the top for SHS athletics, but Williams doesn’t think Trussell will make any major adjustments.

“He’s not coming in to try and change anything,” Williams said. “He’s going to talk to us and see what can be done to continue that legacy of Jacket nation pride. He’s a great hire and we’re very excited with what we have here.

”I appreciate all that Milton Smith did for me and the athletic program. I am looking forward to the next phase of Starkville athletics under the leadership of Dr. Trussell.”