Last week was the District I meeting on the Itawamba Community College Belden campus.
It was great to see familiar faces, and really clicked my mind back into a high school football mode.
It was also a chance for many of the Mississippi High School Activities Association staff to enjoy some Tupelo/Northeast Mississippi hospitality.
Obviously a great chance to get an idea what’s going on in the state, and a logical choice on who to talk to there would have been Executive Director Don Hinton. I left that to those more qualified than me.
I choose perhaps a road less traveled, sitting down for a moment with MHSAA Director of Development and Communication Todd Kelly. Many of you will remember Todd as a longtime reporter for the Clarion Ledger in Jackson – 21 years to be exact – mostly covering high school sports throughout the state.
Now, Todd has been on the job with MHSAA for about 18 months.
“It’s really like a big family here, and I’ve always loved high school sports in Mississippi,” Kelly said. “I’m just as involved with it as I ever way, just in a different way.
“I sure don’t miss having to deal with deadlines.”
At one point, I asked Todd what he remembers as standing out about high school sports in Northeast Mississippi.
“You have so many small schools with great community involvement,” Kelly said. “And there is no greater example of that than in basketball.”
I was also curious as to what Todd had heard in his contact with other states, what they thought or had heard about Mississippi high school sports.
“First you have to credit Dr. Enis Proctor,” said Kelly of the longtime and retired former Executive Director, who was also a former national president of the high school activities associations. “Other states now realize how important high school sports are in Mississippi.
“High schools get a lot of coverage in this state.”
Then one of my last questions was what the MHSAA had on the horizon for our state.
“How much people use our website as a means of communications, and we’re trying to keep up with that,” Kelly said. “Then there is the live streaming of championship events.”
Todd said that links to this will be found on the MHSAA website.
In all, great to see Todd Kelly here in Tupelo, and it is great that football scrimmages are this weekend, with the start of the regular season with classic games next Friday.
Got to love Mississippi high school sports.
David Wheeler has been contributing to the high school sports coverage of the Daily Journal since 1985.