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Schmidt likes what she sees from Vols in offseason

June 24, 2011


Starkville Academy athletic director Glenn Schmidt has been paying attention to what's happening with the sports landscape of the Volunteers during the offseason.
She doesn't only consider baseball, basketball and football, but also everything from tennis, golf, track, cross country, softball, girls and boys soccer, swimming and the cheer dance team.
In every direction, Schmidt has observed the preparation of SA coaches and athletes for the 2011-12 seasons.
"Everybody is working really hard in practice to improve their team and our whole program," Schmidt said. "You have up and down years, but what we want is to get at a different level and level off.
"Coaches are looking for improvement, discipline and dedication in the summer. We're seeing what we want."
Even though there wasn't a full league that developed, new softball coach Kayla Mosley has been working with the Lady Vols since she was hired earlier this year. Mosley has most of the team coming back with biggest hole to fill being the departure of Bailey Wofford.
The girls soccer team has been going through its summer program, while the cross country athletes have been running, tennis players have been on the courts, swimmers are in the pool at Mississippi State, the basketball teams have been playing all over the state, football has been participating in various camps and baseball has been involved in a summer league.
"When you go out in the off-season and I don't care what sport it is, it's going to help you," Schmidt said. "We've had some of our male athletes playing football and baseball, football and basketball, and baseball and basketball. That's the kids sacrificing the summer.
"What our kids are doing to develop themselves in the name of Starkville Academy is phenomenal to me."
Schmidt points to her own basketball squad that have reached nearly 100,000 shots for the month of June and the last week or two of May in its shooting program.
"That's how you learn to shoot and have the discipline of it," Schmidt said.
Schmidt has been impressed with the way Mark Alexander has come in and taken control of boys basketball since he was hired to replace Chris Lyle.
"Coach Alexander has been here since the last two weeks of May and got our youngsters ready for the (Mississippi) State team camp and to play in the league at the Sportsplex," Schmidt said. "They went up to Nettleton to play all day one day in a league up there. They've gone to the Indianola School camp this week. He's had a good group at practice every day and he's really excited."
Starkville Academy entered the summer with the intent of continuing the progress established in athletics the last school year.
Schmidt said coach Jeff Terrill started it off on the right note with a "restore the pride" theme with the football season and it seemed to springboard throughout the rest of the sports.
Even though Schmidt's main focus is with basketball and specifically her Lady Vols, she realizes the importance and boost football provides for the school.
"The effort it takes to rebuild in football is magnified over all the other sports although it's difficult in everything," Schmidt said. "You've got to lay it on the line to say we're rebuilding and where I've seen the greatest evidence of rebuilding the whole program on the male side is in the weight room.
"I've seen them buy in to the weights. With coach Terrill and the addition of coach Bubba Davis, and you have coach (Chad) Peterson, coach (Neal) Henry, coach (Casey) Orr, coach (Chase) Nicholson, those men that deal with football are in the weight room with those players every hour they are lifting. The emphasis they are putting on it, our young guys are visibly different.
"I've been around enough good football in my years to know, that's where the sellout really is. Coach Terrill and coach Peterson with his junior high, they'll get on the field and they'll pass, throw and run, but behind all that, we've got what we need now in a weight program."
Schmidt also said the football team went through a speed clinic with former Mississippi State sprinter Kelvin Harris and from time to time, experts were brought in to re-enforce certain points.
Along with the addition of Alexander and Mosley, Schmidt is excited about the eventual arrival of David Sanders as a full-time assistant in basketball and softball.
Sanders is involved with the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame representation and is getting married in July so won't officially join the Vols until August.
"He's going to have to come in here in August and put his jersey on," Schmidt said. "He's an outstanding young man and will add a great deal to our program. He's a basketball coach by first sport, but he's got a lot of football knowledge too.
"People wonder why now we have a full-time assistant. We had the right teaching position open up. We've got to hire coaches based on what goes on in the class room. I've got to get them by (high school principal) Mr. (Billy) Wilbanks. In my position right now, I'm so excited with a veteran group of coaches predominately returning and adding some outstanding ones to it. We hate to lose our coaches when they leave us, but they leave us for various reasons, but we have a lot of consistency."
When it comes to consistency and being willing and able to take on any task, Schmidt said that tag certainly fits her friend Kyle Morgan.
Schmidt and Morgan came to the Vols eight years ago and have developed a good working relationship.
Morgan had retired from his job at Mississippi State and became Schmidt's right-hand-man, but now she says Head of School John "Doc" Stephens has found him and has taken him away.
"His services were needed elsewhere," Schmidt said. "If Kyle Morgan is doing it, he's an expert at it. I owe him a lot. We came in here together and he helped me get used to the private schools and how the system worked.
"Besides being a dear friend and a good coach, he relates well to our youngsters, but I lost him to Doc Stephens. I can live with it because he's working for the good of the school and you see a lot of improvements around here. It helps athletics too and takes a lot off me that I don't have to worry about facilities. We're blessed to have him."
When it comes to facilities, Schmidt said the Vols are making upgrades where possible, but the main focus is the improvement of academic buildings.
Schmidt said it was a sense of teamwork that made last year very enjoyable at Starkville Academy and looks for more of the same in the coming year.
"Last year, I felt like our coaches and players across the board had a lot of intensity and tried as hard as they could to win and practiced to win," Schmidt said. "I felt like it was a great year and I'm not even talking about wins and losses. It felt good to me to look out over all of it and see how hard we were working, how serious the players were and how dedicated the coaches were.
"I had a very enjoyable year because of it and I know our youngsters did.
"It was a good year to be a Starkville Academy Volunteer and that's what it takes. Winning programs stay together. Everybody is pulling for everybody. I'm not saying we haven't always done that, but we've all got to do that more. Everybody was working as hard as they could for all the youngsters in all the sports."

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