There was a sense of pride for Starkville High School athletic director Stan Miller when his program won the All-Sports Trophy for Class 5A in the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
That doesn't mean he's satisfied.
Being considered the top high school sports program in Class 5A is nice, but Miller believes more can be achieved and won't rest until his athletic department is the best in the state among all classifications.
"Our next goal is to win it all," Miller said. "We finished third overall in All-Sports and 30 points below Tupelo. Tupelo and Madison Central have dominated the overall All-Sports Trophy when you put all of the points together. We've got to get another 30 points somewhere. You'll be hearing that from me in August and from our coaches at the coaches meeting."
The key to achieving that in Miller's mind is continuing to keep great coaches in place, establishing solid corporate sponsorships and strengthening facilities.
Once he gets the coaches in place, Miller wants the type of budget in place to fill their needs.
"We have one of the finest athletic budgets in the state of Mississippi of anybody," Miller said. "We are able to give our coaches supplies and feed our kids when they are on the road. I think that is so important."
Miller expresses over and over the importance of the coaches and how much their constant acts means to the success of the Yellowjackets.
The work of the coaches doesn't stop when the school year ends. They can often be found on the courts and fields during the summer preparing for the next season.
"Our coaches are on nine-month contracts, but with our coaches, there no such a thing," Miller said. "Our coaches are working with our players all summer everywhere. Volleyball and baseball finish up June and then July is that dead month so I think it's coaches that are dedicated and know there is no such thing as a nine-month contract or 10-month contract. We were with our athlete as much as we can."
When considering facilities, Miller said there are plans to improve the gyms and fields where the SHS athletes perform.
The softball field has new signs, a press box and new irrigation system to the infield. The dugouts will be painted as was the case with baseball, and a new covered pitching area is set to be constructed near the batting cages.
The gym (a.k.a. the Beehive), where basketball games and volleyball matches are held, air-conditioning has been put in, banners and state championship pictures have been put up and lockerooms have been improved. Miller also likes the strides that have been made in the promotion of football, basketball and some select baseball games in the future through radio.
Miller said the involvement of corporate sponsorships in the last two years have helped with new scoreboards at football and softball.
He's also excited about the newly-constructed fieldhouse on campus that will house a varsity football lockeroom for 84 athletes, a 9th grade football lockeroom for 45 players, boys track for 45, girls track for 45, and girls soccer for 45.
"I can't say enough about our school board for our new fieldhouse which is first-rate," Miller said. "There's a beautiful weight area. and we have a hall of excellence room with memorability, corporate things, and plaques for people who have donated to our program."
On the horizon, Miller said there's a push to put in an all-surface track and all-weather football field.
"They are all projects for down the road," Miller said. "I really believe it."
(Editor's Note: This is the second story of a two-part series on the state of the Starkville High School athletic program which just won the All-Sports Trophy for Class 5A of Mississippi High School Athletics Association.)