March 9, 2016 10:35:58 AM
Glenn Schmidt always believed a career in coaching would be fulfilling.
Turns out her 39-year coaching career was that and then some.
After 13 seasons at Starkville Academy, Schmidt informed the Board of Trustees at the school last week she was retiring and wouldn't return as girls basketball coach and athletic director.
"It has been 39 great years," Schmidt said. "What makes it remarkable is I have done this within 25 miles of my home. Between Starkville High School, (Mississippi University for Women), and Starkville Academy, I have been really blessed with three incredible opportunities. To do something you love and to do it with the passion I have done it with and to do it at home that makes it special."
Schmidt said each coaching stop will forever hold a place in her heart. However, most are wanting to look at the most recent one since it is current. Her 13-year run at Starkville Academy was highlighted by winning two Mississippi Association of Independent Schools state championships in back-to-back seasons.
Over the seasons, Schmidt remembers the administrators, players, and coaches she has worked with and competed against every day.
"I have had the fortune of coaching so many really good players," Schmidt said. "When I had the boys team (at Starkville High), it was a unique situation but a really good one. I am really thankful for each school for giving me that opportunity."
This season, the Starkville Academy girls basketball team won 21 games. Five juniors return from this team.
"The timing is right because I feel like we are leaving this program in good shape," Schmidt said. "These girls will be in a position to contend next season, and we are leaving them in a good place."
Under Schmidt's watch as athletic director, the football team has won one and played for three MAIS state championships. The baseball team has also advanced to the state finals. The football and baseball stadiums have received major face lifts as well.
"The Starkville Academy community is full of some really good people," Schmidt said. "I have had the fortune of going into battle with some really great coaches and some really supportive administrators and parents. What we do is not easy. It is a major time commitment and a major sacrifice.
"The main thing is we are trying to teach the game of basketball, but we are also trying to teach how to be successful in life."
For anyone who knows Schmidt, competing at the highest level should come as no surprise. Her coaching career included 15 years as girls basketball coach at Starkville High (including two as girls and boys coach), 11 years as basketball coach at MUW prior to the academy.
While coaching may not have been part of the long-range plan, the sport of basketball always has played a vital role in Schmidt's life. With an opportunity to play for high school coaching legend Jerry Henderson at Madison-Ridgeland public school, Schmidt learned so much about the game at an early age.
"I have had two great influences on my coaching career," Schmidt said. "Jerry Henderson and Ed Nixon were monumental in making me the coach I am today. The biggest thing they did was keep me out of trouble when I was in school. Both coaches were fine Christian men. What they taught me is the big picture. Winning is not the only thing that matters. Instead, winning is a byproduct of several factors.
"No one worked us harder than Ed Nixon. I still have the bruised up knees to prove it. I found out that it is so much more than winning and losing. Looking back, I have to give credit to each of them for a large part of the philosophy I use today."
Schmidt played basketball, volleyball, and softball at Mississippi College. Completing her degree work there in 1976, Schmidt earned All-America honors in basketball. That led to an invite to play on the 1974 World University Games team. Her teammates on that team included Pat Summit, who went on to become a legendary women's basketball coach at Tennessee.
"I have always been fascinated by the game," Schmidt said. "Always wanted to watch, learn, and find out all I can. The game can humble you. It can build you as a person. There are so many memories I will take away. The main thing are the relationships.
"You keep score, but the main thing is all the relationships. There are so many people I will remember for the rest of my life."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Scott Walters on Twitter @dispatchscott
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
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