By GENE PHELPS
Tupelo High School athletic director Danny Porter checks his calendar every day to make sure he doesn’t miss a game, a match, a meet.
It could happen when your athletics program is one of the state’s largest – 15 varsity sports and 25 teams, including the ninth grade.
Porter, who has been named the Mississippi Association of Coaches 2008-09 Athletic Director of the Year, credits all his support, along with his planner, for keeping one of the state’s most successful athletics programs running at a winning pace.
“We have great coaches,” said Porter, who is completing his fifth season in the AD job. “They all work hard and take their sports serious.
“Our booster clubs are also willing to pitch in and help, and our administration is very supportive of our programs.”
Under Porter’s watch, the Golden Wave athletics program has been recognized nationally by Sports Illustrated, third in the nation, and MaxPreps, fourth in the nation.
“Both of those honors were big for this program,” he said.
Tupelo has also captured the Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s all-sports award as the state’s most successful athletics program in 16 of 21 years its been presented.
The only two sports offered by the Mississippi High School Activities Association that Tupelo does not participate in are girls powerlifting and archery. That will likely change soon.
“We haven’t been successful finding girls for powerlifting, but I’m sure we will,” Porter said. “There hasn’t been any interest in archery, yet.”
Porter will be honored with his MAC award at the annual Coaches Hall of Fame banquet June 29 in Jackson.
New foes in football
In other THS news, the Golden Wave’s 2009 football schedule will feature three new opponents – 5A New Hope, 5A Itawamba AHS and 4A Louisville.
Tupelo kicks off its season Aug. 28 with a road game at New Hope. The team returns home to host IAHS Sept. 4, then travels to Louisville Sept. 11.
“We’re excited about our non-division games,” Porter said. “The economy and travel had a lot to do with it. It’s rather expensive to take three or four buses to Madison Central and Covington, Tenn.”
The Wave’s remaining home opponents, all Division 1-6A foes, are: Starkville (Oct. 2), Southaven (Oct. 9), DeSoto Central (Oct. 23, homecoming) and Olive Branch (Nov. 6).
The remaining division road games are: Columbus (Sept. 25), South Panola (Oct. 16) and Horn Lake (Oct. 30).