Trussell selected as SOCSD athletic director

Staff Writer

The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District now has a new athletic director. Hattiesburg Public School District Athletic Director C. Cheyenne Trussell will start as the SOCSD’s athletic director, following a 3-0 vote of the school board with Board President Keith Coble and secretary John S. Brown absent.

Trussell will take the place of retiring SOCSD Athletic Director Milton Smith.

Trussell will start Jan. 8 at a salary of $94,000.

"I'm excited and honored that Dr. Peasant and the board of trustees chose me to lead the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Athletic Department," Trussell said.

"This is my dream job. Christmas came early."

Trussell said he planned to meet with coaches both as a group and individually soon after starting. He said due to the quality of the athletic programs, he didn't expect there to be too much need for change.

"There's no sense in reinventing the wheel," Trussell said.

Trussell also called his new job a "win-win situation," and said he saw great potential in the district's teams.

“Dr. Trussell is a seasoned school educator and administrator, as well as an experienced athletic director,” said SOCSD Superintendent Eddie Peasant. “He has over 15 years of successful experience in a 5A and 6A school district. He is one who has been able to support our experienced coaches and be a strong mentor for our young and new coaches in our district. We’re excited about what he will offer to our program overall just because of his wealth of experience.”

Trussell has served as athletic director in Hattiesburg since 2002, and has served as a teacher, coach and administrator in Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina. Prior to his tenure in Hattiesburg, he spent 11 years in the Jackson Public School District.

He holds a bachelor’s in education with a minor in athletic administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and masters and doctoral degrees in educational administration from Jackson State University.

He has also completed superintendent academies held by the Mississippi School Board Association and USM and has been through National Institute of School Leaders Training in Jackson.

Peasant said the decision to hire Trussell was made after a board of SOCSD coaches and administrators interviewed four candidates for the position.

“We feel that we have found a great fit for our school district, which was the most of our candidates, and we’re excited to recommend Dr. Cheyenne Trussell,” Peasant said.

Peasant also lauded Smith’s performance as athletic director during his two years with the district.

“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.”

Smith will step down at the end of the semester.

The district will officially introduce Trussell Wednesday at a 2:15 p.m. press conference at Starkville High School.