PREP NOTEBOOK October 28, 2011

By NEMS Daily Journal

MHSAA’s new director discusses plans, goals
Don Hinton replaced Ennis Procter as the executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association in July. Hinton, a coach and administrator with more than 30 years of experience working in Mississippi schools, recently discussed his plans and objectives for the MHSAA on the association’s website: www.misshaa.com.
You attended eight district meetings and got a chance to meet with administrators and coaches from all over the state. In what ways was that beneficial?
DH: One of the biggest positives was that people were able to meet our new staff. They were able to put a face with a name. Eventually, when they call the office, they’ll know who they’re talking to at that time. It was good for us to be able to pass along our vision and our direction and let people see our focus for serving our schools. We want to develop trust because we have to have it to achieve our ultimate goal, which is serving the needs of our students involved in activities.
You spoke often at those district meetings about the importance of “following the rules” for the MHSAA and our schools. Can you elaborate?
DH: We’ve traveled around the state and talked to a lot of our school folks. That’s what we’re hearing and that’s what they want – to follow the rules. It’s not that we haven’t followed the rules in the past, but we want to be consistent in making decisions and following through on what it says in our handbook. We’re reviewing our handbook right now with individuals who’ve been in education a long time to help us get it to where we want it to be.
There already have been significant changes to the format of the MHSAA state swim meet. How is the Association approaching potential restructuring of its wide array of championship events?
DH: We feel like an MHSAA championship event should be one of the top five experiences of a participant’s lifetime. We want to make it that way for the coaches and fans as well. We’re looking to be creative. We want to find new and better ways to administer our championships. We have someone every day here at the Association who is studying ways to make our events better. We do some really good things at the MHSAA. We want to do the good things better and the better things best. It takes a lot of planning, but we’re in that process now.
Where do you envision the MHSAA a year from now?
DH: Good things happen to those who make sure good things happen. We’ve studied other states and how they run their events. We have a very well thought out strategic plan – not just for one year, but for two and three years year – with input from our members, our member schools, our superintendents and all the way through to our coaching staffs. They’re the ones who know what it takes to make things better.
Ripley High girls capture 1-3A cross country win
The Ripley girls cross-country team won the Division 1-3A championship last week in Corinth.
Coached by Phillip Laney, the Ripley girls finished ahead of Kossuth, Mooreville, South Pontotoc and Mantachie. They qualified for the Nov. 5 MHSAA Cross County Championships in Clinton.
The top five runners were medal winners, including Page Rowland, who finished first out of 40 runners in the 4K (2.5 miles) with a time of 15:59, and Madison Moore, who was second with a 16:54. Rachel Dees (17:51) was eighth, Rachel Walker (18:22) 11th, and Ziomara Ramirez (18:34) 12th for the Lady Tigers.