May 18, 2017 11:47:32 PM
WEST POINT -- Some of the most fun Phil Ferguson has had working in schools has been the time spent with students in sports.
Whether as a coach or as an administrator, Ferguson said the daily interactions with students to help them realize their potential has been some of his most rewarding work.
That's why Ferguson is so excited to return to the new dual role he will take on as a coach, teacher, and athletic director at Oak Hill Academy in West Point.
"Those relationships you build as a coach or as an administrator or whatever you're doing never last like those coach-player relationships do," Ferguson said. "I hope to add my experience to make it an even more successful program."
In addition to his duties as athletic director, Ferguson will coach junior high football and will teach in the school. He will teach driver's education this summer.
Ferguson is a resident of Mantee. He graduated from Cumberland High School, which is now East Webster High, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. He attended Clarke Junior College, where he played baseball.
Ferguson earned a bachelor's degree from Ole Miss in 1990 and a master's degree from Mississippi State in 1995.
Ferguson served as a teacher and coach at Bruce High from 1990-99. He was athletic director and football coach at Tupelo High School from 1999 to 2003. He has served as principal at Guntown Middle School (2004-07) and East Webster High (2007-09), and as career and technical director and curriculum coordinator for Webster County Schools. He is currently the assistant director at Millcreek Day School.
Ferguson is married to Sara and has two daughters, Sydney and Claire.
Ferguson replaces longtime Oak Hill Academy baseball and softball coach Marion Bratton. Oak Hill Academy Headmaster Cathy Avent Davis said Bratton will teach science part time at the school in 2017-18.
"We all know coach Bratton has given lots of time and energy to Oak Hill, and we are all so appreciative," Davis said about Bratton, who recently received a plaque from the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) for 25 years of service. "I know he will continue to support OH in any way that he can."
Ferguson and Bratton actually played softball for Babcock and Wilcox in an Industrial Class D League team. Bratton said the team won three-straight state championships. He also said Ferguson was a younger player who provided a boost for the more experienced squad.
Babcock and Wilcox, which made boilers and related equipment in coal-fired power plants and in other settings to generate steam and power, closed in 2016.
As for stepping down as athletic director, Bratton, who replaced Stan Hughey as AD at Oak Hill Academy, said he will spend more time with his family.
"I pretty much was raised by my coaches," Bratton said. "School has always been a structured part of my life. That is where the discipline in my life came from, from my coaches and teachers. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't hang around the kids for a while."
Ferguson feels the same way, and is looking forward to getting a whistle out and putting on the shorts to build relationships with a new group of students.
"It is a good, small school with great kids," Ferguson said. "The kids have great work ethic. There are a lot of great things. I am excited about this opportunity."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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