Leader Blues

Monday, July 31, 2006

SPORTS >> Mimms is JHS's new girls head Red Devil

By RAY BENTON
Leader sports writer

For the second consecutive year, Jacksonville High School has hired a head basketball coach away from North Pulaski. JHS principal Kenneth Clark announced Katrina Mimms as the new head girls basketball coach at Jacksonville. “I liked her work ethic,” Clark said. “She lives here and she knows the kids and people in the district. It’s a great fit.” Mimms has spent 14 years at North Pulaski, all of them as the head girls basketball coach. The decision to pursue a job at JHS wasn’t an easy one at first with so much time spent at North Pulaski.

“Like I would tell, and have told people, I was not unhappy at North Pulaski High School,” Mimms said. “I’ve told people I would probably retire there. A change, though, sometimes revives you. There’s great community support for the school. The possibility that it will be its own district is also appealing. It’s something they’re really fighting for and could accomplish. I’m a resident and will have kids coming up through the school system. There were a lot of reasons. “The big thing though was how the city of Jacksonville does such a good job of supporting the school. That really excites me. I worked hard to get support up at North Pulaski. I may not have to work so hard now,” Mimms added with a laugh.

Mimms is taking over a program that failed to make the playoffs for the third year last season, but she believes that kind of run won’t last at a school like JHS. “I’m not sure what kind of talent the team has,” Mimms said. “I haven’t met the girls yet. Just from being at North Pulaski and living in Jacksonville, I know they always have athletic kids. It will just be getting the athletic kids to become good basketball players. That starts at the lower levels, and that situation will be better than it was at North Pulaski.” Mimms’ middle school feeder was miles away from NPHS and difficult for her to oversee. She will now have a feeder school nearby and plans to be a part of every facet of the JHS girls basketball program.

“That’s a big advantage,” Mimms said. “North Pulaski was so isolated from Northwood. We made some efforts and worked more with them recently, but we just haven’t been able to get it on the same page. I think that is going to be a lot better at Jacksonville. I believe at Jacksonville we can get it all on the same page, 7th through 12th.” Tanya Ganey, the longtime renowned coach that stepped down as Jacksonville girls basketall coach at the end of last season, is taking over the freshman team. Mimms believes that will be a good working relationship.

“She called and congratulated me and told me she would support this program in any way she can,” Mimms said. “That meant a lot to me and I think we’re going to have a great relationship. Her style and my style are also basically the same and she knows how to coach it. They’re not exactly the same, but they are similar enough we can work out the details about it.”
Mimms currently has no assistant. Former assistant coach Max Hatfield was promoted to head football and track coach for the freshman boys. She is looking forward to reuniting with former co-worker Vic Joyner.

“I’m very excited about that,” Mimms said. “I’ve always enjoyed working with him and we’ve always had a good relationship.”
The competition level will increase, although it’s not going to be totally new to Mimms. NP used to be in Jacksonville’s conference before dropping a classification six years ago. She’s fully aware of how much stronger the competition will be.
“The AAAA Southeast’s top teams are always pretty good and could compete with anybody,” Mimms said. “The biggest difference is going to be in the middle of the pack and the bottom. There’s not going to be anybody on the schedule you can look at as a win. But again, it’s nothing I’m not used to, and I know it’s nothing these girls don’t know.”

Mimms wasn’t sure Thursday when she would have her players report for duty. She was still working on getting things moved from one office to another, but she’s ready to start. “I haven’t really gotten to all that yet. I just know I’m excited. The change has done me good, it’s sparked me. Right now I’ll just start working on getting a staff in order.”