Smith on Sports: Milton Smith loves, appreciates SHS athletics

Danny P. Smith
Staff Writer

There are two things that Milton Smith and I have in common.

We not only share the same last name, but we have a deep love and appreciation for Starkville.

Smith had a great football career as a member of the Starkville Yellowjackets under coach Willis Wright, then went on to have a very good career with the Mississippi State Bulldogs at defensive back.

After spending 17 years away from Starkville with one of those stops in Laurel as its athletic director, Smith came back home 2 1/2 years ago to serve the Jackets in the same capacity. He has decided to retire from his position effective at the end of this fall semester.

It may have been a short stint for Smith as SHS athletic director, but it was a good one. During his leadership, the Jackets won four state championship with one in football, one in boys basketball, one in girls basketball and one in girls bowling.

Smith was just as proud of that bowling championship as he was the football. He expected the best out of all the sports at SHS and for the most part they delivered with multiple playoff appearances in the last 2 1/2 years.

Managing a Class 6A athletic department can be difficult because of all of the sports under the umbrella. Not only do the Jackets have football, boys and girls basketball and bowling, but they also compete in baseball, fast pitch and slow pitch softball, boys and girls soccer, cross country, track and field, archery, golf and tennis.

Smith could be found supporting all of those sports and also became an active participant over the years in making sure everything was running smoothly. He assisted the crew in the pit for long jump and high jump events during home track meets.

It has been a pleasure of mine to get to know Smith over the years. I was a senior at SHS while he was making his mark on the football field for the Jackets.

Smith did a little bit of everything for Starkville. He was a standout defensive back, but also saw time at running back and even kicked for the Jackets. His punting average as a senior was 40 yards per outing.

After he joined the Bulldogs, Smith made an immediate impact in the secondary. He had an interception during MSU's season-opening win over Syracuse.

Not many get to excel in sports in their high school, then remain in their hometown to perform in college and return to their alma mater as the athletic director. Smith did that and did it well.

There will be a void without Smith as a part of the SHS athletic department, but he deserves to be happy with his retirement.

Not matter what the future holds for Smith, he will always be a Starkville Yellowjacket at heart.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.