Local coaches ready for MAC conventionBy LAURENCE HILLIARD,
It's Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) annual convention week, a time for high school coaches from throughout the state to converge on the Jackson area to soak up knowledge and renew friendships.
Among the coaches attending include Winona head football coach Joey Tompkins, Winona Christian School head football coach and athletic director Junior Graham, J.Z. George head football coach Ben Burton, and Winona head basketball coach Presley Coleman. All four said the convention is a positive experience.
“It's one of the better ones you can go to,” Tompkins said. “They try to get the best possible speakers. They do a good job.”
Graham has been attending the convention for 32 years and he was MAC president nine years ago when he was the football coach at Eupora. “It's awesome. It's top notch,” he said. “We have people coming from other states to see how well it's organized. They are amazed.”
Burton said the convention allows him to pick up pointers to help his team. “It’s a good thing for coaches to get together to further their knowledge,” he said. “I haven’t been to a whole bunch (of conventions) outside the state, but they (MAC) do a really good job so that coaches in Mississippi benefit.”
Coleman said “They do an excellent job. They have a wide range of speakers.”
There are sessions led by high school, junior college, and college coaches in every sport, boys and girls, including so called minor sports like archery and bowling. There are also sessions on cheerleading.
“Our offensive coaches will go to the ones on offense and our defensive coaches will go to the ones of defense,” Tompkins said.
Coleman mentioned two sessions he planned to attend — “Defensive Concepts & Drills” presented by Copiah-Lincoln basketball coach Kenny Bizot and “Building Individual Offense By Mastering Fundamentals” presented by University of New Orleans basketball coach Mark Slessinger.
Graham said the convention is an excellent way to keep up with new strategies and schemes. “I love to hear other people's philosophies.”
He added. “The biggest thing is to catch up with lifetime friends. I see them once a year.”
The Hilton Hotel in Jackson is headquarters for the convention, but there are also sessions at Pearl High School, Ridgeland High School, Millsaps College, Tougaloo College and River Hills Country Club.
Prominent presenters include Mississippi State head football coach Jim Moorhead, Arkansas head football coach Chad Morris, Southern Mississippi head basketball coach Jay Ladner, Mississippi Braves manager Chris Maloney and Auburn head softball coach Eric Newell.