PONTOTOC – Mike Bain will accept the plaque this week when he’s inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame.
However, the Pontotoc High School coach, who owns 35 state championships in cross country and track and field, believes the athletes he coached deserve the honor more.
“I’m fortunate to have the record I have,” Bain said. “I attribute it to the kids I’ve coached. To me, this is more like them being inducted.
“They did the work. It’s more of an honor for them than for me. I’m proud they were able to accomplish what they did.”
The MAC Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson.
Bain, 58, capped his 32nd season with his 35th state title this spring when the Lady Warriors won the Class 4A track and field championship in Pearl.
In the fall, his boys and girls cross country teams won state championships to give him 28 state titles in the sport, all in Pontotoc.
“It’s always exciting for the kids when they win state,” he said. “I used to get excited early in my career, then toward the middle of my career I didn’t. Now that I’m toward the end, I probably get as excited.”
Bain was a distance runner for Pearl High School, Hinds Community College and Mississippi College. During his two seasons running for former MC coach Joe Walker, he competed in cross country and ran the 3,000-meter steeplechase. His senior year he qualified the NAIA nationals in the steeplechase.
His goal leaving college was to return to Pearl to build a track and field program. Instead, he moved to Pontotoc, the hometown of his MC roommate, David Whiteside.
“I used to visit Pontotoc a lot and I grew to like it,” he said.
Bain, who started the cross country programs at Pontotoc, said a lack of coaching in high school led him to become a coach.
“Track was something I was good at,” he said. “If kids are going to run they deserve to have good coaching.”
Corinth athletics director Chris Coleman, who coached track and field with Bain at Pontotoc, believes athletes always get Bain’s best.
“He’s very knowledgeable of sport and he understands his kids very well,” Coleman said. “He cares about his kids, athletically and academically.
“He’s a great coach and an even better person … the perfect coach for your child.”
Bain hopes to coach at least four more years before retiring. His hope is to have a former athlete come back to take over the cross country program.
“I’ve been the only coach,” he said. “It will be difficult when I retire because it’s personal.”
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal