McKenny helps team achieve win record at Crystal Springs

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 5, 2005

CRYSTAL SPRINGS — It’s been a Cinderella season for CrystalSprings girls basketball coach Michael McKenny and his LadyTigers.

They set a new school record with 30 wins in the 2004-05campaign. Their four losses for the Lady Tigers were to Class 3Astate champion Choctaw Central (twice) and once to Wilkinson Countyand Warren Central.

The Lady Tigers made it to the Mississippi Coliseum for thestate tournament and beat Senatobia 89-65 in the first round beforefalling to Choctaw Central 78-41 in the semifinals.

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For his accomplishments, McKenny has been selected THE DAILYLEADER’S 2005 Area Girls Basketball Coach of the Year.

“I’m proud to be selected,” smiled McKenny. “It’s such aprivilege.”

McKenny talked about the season. “This year was a great one.We’ve been working together for a long time. The girls had theattitude that they wanted to win.

“Normally they would be here 30 minutes before practice,”continued McKenny. “We have won over 100 games. I had a goodnucleus to build on.”

DAILY LEADER All-Area Player of the Year Corrisa Tillman ofCrystal Springs had nothing but praise for McKenny. “He is a greatcoach.”

Dominique Whitfield of Crystal Springs, a member of the All-AreaTeam agreed with Tillman. “He’s a great coach,” smiled Whitfield.”He’s the best.”

McKenny expects the Tigers to work hard and practice the waythey would play in a real game.

“We practice hard and we play hard,” explained McKenny. “Wenever give up. There was no quitting. We practice just like weplayed the game.”

McKenny likes the faster tempo game but his Tigers can adjust totheir opponent and turn it in their favor.

“We like to push the ball up the court,” stated McKenny. “We runand we can slow it down if we need to. Our team is very quick.”

McKenny expects the girls to do well in the classroom, too. Theyaverage from 3.0 to 3.5 GPA and a few players are holding 4.0averages.

“They are very good students and I am very happy with that,”added McKenny.

Although he loses several talented seniors, McKenny is positiveabout the next season’s team. “We have a good nucleus coming back.We look to be good. The girls in Crystal Spring love to playbasketball.”

McKenny teaches physical education and comprehensive health.

He also coaches girls track. “We are doing well,” said McKenny.”Dominique won state in the long jump last year and was second inthe high jump and third in the 200 meters. Corrisa runs crosscountry.”

Whitfield and Tillman were both named to the All-District CrossCountry team last year.

McKenny was born and raised in Crystal Springs. While at CrystalSprings High School, he played basketball and ran track. He attendCo-Lin from 1977-78 and ran track. He was named Most Valuable inTrack.

At Mississippi College, McKenny continued to run track andgraduated with a degree in physical education in 1981. While at MC,he was named to the All-Conference Gulf South team and won the 400meters.

McKenny worked at Mississippi Job Corps for several years. Heled the Mississippi team to the National Job Corps title inWashington, D.C., in 1991.

In 1999, McKinney returned to Crystal Springs and began teachingin the middle school. He returned to the high school in 2002 andtook over as girls head coach in 2003.

McKenny has three daughters and two sons. He is Baptist andattends Springfield Baptist Church in Crystal Springs.