From Special Reports
North Sunflower Academy announced two major coaching hires this week.
The school announced the hiring of Ricky Smither and Jenny McCullough.
Smither will be the head high school and junior high football coach, while McCullough will be the junior high and high school head girls basketball coach.
Smither is no stranger to the coaching carousel.
The Thibodaux, LA native has over 20 years of coaching experience at both the junior high, varsity, junior college and college levels. He comes to North Sunflower with an undergraduate degree in Physical Education, Health and Driver’s Education. He also has a Masters in Education. Smither’s most recent head coach stint was at Cleveland Central High School where he led the Wolves to a 15-10 record in two years with a Region 2-5A Championship in 2017.
“The hiring of Coach Smither was another great hire for our school,” NSA Athletic Director Todd Kitchings said. “Coach Smither has a wealth of knowledge that will benefit the rebuilding of our program. He has been around campus this year substitute teaching and assisting with our track program and the kids have a lot of respect for him.”
While this will be Smither’s first stint in private school as well as a first in coaching 8-man football, his extensive knowledge of the game is what North Sunflower knows will benefit and turn the program around.
“We are going to change the culture in the football program at North Sunflower Academy next year,” Smither said. “We are going to put together a plan and watch it work successfully. We are going to expect to win every time we step on the field. We want to encourage every male student on campus to be a part of what is coming.”
McCullough is best known for her time as head girls basketball coach at Cleveland High from 1998-2016 where she went 297-258 with 12 playoff appearances. After CHS, she served as head girls basketball coach at West Union and assistant women’s basketball coach at Mississippi Delta Community College.
“When you start looking for coaches, the first thing you look for is someone with a passion for the sport,” NSA headmaster Janet Ray said. “Coach McCullough had all the qualities that Coach Kitchings and I were looking for. We are so proud that she is part of the NSA family and staff and can’t wait to see success of our Lady Rebels program next season.”
McCullough said she can’t wait to coach the players at NSA.
“I had the opportunity to watch both the junior high and varsity teams this season from the stands,” McCullough said. “There is an incredible amount of talent on both teams. They want to learn and they give tremendous effort. They just need a little more practice and we are going to get back to the fundamentals and learn the game of basketball.”