Mitchell assumes Tide hoops duties

Published 7:23 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2006

The girls’ basketball team at Picayune Memorial High will have a lot of new faces on the hardcourt next season, after losing seven seniors including all five starters from last year’s squad.

And, there will be a new face on the bench as well leading the Lady Tide.

The Picayune School Board recently approved Kristie Mitchell as the new head basketball coach, replacing the retiring Dennis Peterson.

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While Mitchell is a veteran coach at Picayune, she is currently both the head coach in slow and fast pitch softball, she’ll be returning to the Lady Tide basketball program for the first time in seven years.

“I just love Picayune High School and the athletic programs,” Mitchell, an alumnus of the school as well, said. “At first when the job came open, I wasn’t really interested. But eventually I figured it out after looking at the calendar that I thought that I could pull off coaching all three without any overlap. Plus, we lost a lot of girls off the softball teams as well, and I figured if I had go through rebuilding one I might as well try and rebuild all three at the same time.”

The Lady Tide is coming off the best season in school history, registering a 25-3 record and a state playoff berth.

Mitchell was an assistant under current Pearl River Central head coach Donna Spiers at Picayune in the mid-90’s, but she gave up her basketball duties to begin the fast pitch program while also serving as the slow pitch coach.

“I’ll have my hands full, but I love coaching and the kids at Picayune,” Mitchell added. “Plus, in the past a lot of the girls that played softball were on the basketball team as well, so I’m familiar with most of the athletes. That should help.”

Mitchell will be meeting with her team for the first time on Monday morning at 10 a.m., at Kelly Wise Gym on the Picayune High campus She urges any 9th thru 12th grade girls interested in participating on the basketball team they should report to the gym at that time.

“We’re behind a little bit because we didn’t get to do any work last month, but we should be fine once we get started,” Mitchell concluded. “We’ve been fortunate to have a great group of female athletes here at Picayune recently, and I hope we can keep that going and have more success.”