JACKSON – To the victor, they say, go the spoils. For Nanih Waiya head football coach James Courtney, that meant participating on a panel at the 2019 Mississippi Association of Coaches Multi-Sports Clinic held in the Metro Jackson area last week.
“It is an honor to be part of the largest football clinic in the country,” he said.
As a result of Nanih Waiya's 2018 MHSAA 1A state championship, Courtney was part of the panel discussion “Inside 1A/2A/3 Championship Programs.” He was joined on the panel before a room full of high school football coaches by 2A champion coach Devin Cooper of Scott Central, and 3A champion coach Brad Embry of Water Valley.
At the same time in the next room at Jackson's Hilton Hotel, former Louisville head coach M.C. Miller was a participant on a panel discussion on “Inside 4A/5A/6A Championship Programs.” In his final year as the the Wildcats' head coach, Louisville won the 4A championship, finishing 15-1 with a title game 25-20 victory over Poplarville. He was joined on the panel by Chris Chambliss of 5A champion West Point (the only team to beat Louisville) and Brad Boyette of 6A champion Horn Lake.
Nanih Waiya went 15-1 last season with its lone loss being to Winona.
Questions put to the panel included “How do you rally community support at a small school?”
Courtney said that is not a problem at a community like Nanih Waiya. “When you're winning games or not, the community is going to be involved.”
In response to “How does your weight program transmit to your success?” Courtney said he learned the value of having bigger, faster, and stronger athletes as an assistant under current Winona Christian School coach Junior Graham when they were both at Eupora. “And that's what we do.”
He added that the players go through a lot of squats, which makes them flexible and prevents injuries.
Preventing injuries is especially important at a small school with a limited number of players, he said, when the loss of two or three players can be very difficult to overcome.
He said getting kids to come out for the team is easy. “If you're a boy at Nanih Waiya you pretty much play football.”