Two area coaches have received the honor of being named the best in their respective sports through the Mississippi Association of Coaches and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Parks.
East Union’s Nathan McLellen and Trey Humphreys have worked with cross country and archery at the school, and because of their success and efforts in promoting their respective sports, have earned the title of coaches of the year.
For McLellen, this is the second consecutive year he has been named the top girls’ cross country coach after the Lady Urchins repeated as state champions last fall; an honor in which he gives full credit to his team.
“I have good runners, good athletes and just all around really good kids that work hard and want to be successful,” he said. “When you have the opportunity to work in that environment, it’s easy for me as a coach.”
Along with his success in cross country, McLellen is also working with the school’s track team, primarily the runners, and East Union has seen a tremendous response to the addition of the sport as well as success, as the team won its division meet two weeks ago and is currently preparing for the north half championships this weekend.
“Getting to work with track this spring, we have the chance to work with different types of runners; not just distance,” McLellen said.
“We’re taking advantage of this new sport and using it, not only to continue working with the cross country kids, but it’s also helping with softball, basketball, football, and it just gives the kids something to do to stay active in the spring. We’re just trying to get the kids excited for something new, and they’ve worked very hard and have been extremely competitive this season.”
Five years ago, Humphreys started the archery program at East Union, and has played an instrumental part in not only building that program, but promoting the activity and helping other local schools add it as well. His coach of the year honor comes from the MDWFP.
“I don’t think I deserve anything, I’m pretty humble,” Humphreys laughed. “I think this comes mainly because I’ve helped promote the sport in the area and have had a hand in training other instructors and have even helped schools get grants and start up their programs.”
“When we started five years ago, we were ready to compete, but had almost no one in the area to compete against. This year, we had about eight to 10 within an hour and a half driving distance who we could compete against, and I expect more next year.”
East Union finished fourth in the state invitational this season, and Humphreys has watched his team improve in competition each year. Outside of the school, Humphreys also works with the Mississippi Christian Bow Hunters, a division of the Christian Bow Hunters of America.
“We’ve improved each year, and after five years, I think we’re still in the building stages,” Humphreys said of East Union.
“As far as the Christian Bow Hunters, it is a well recognized program in the nation, and to my knowledge, we are the only chapter in Mississippi right now, but it’s been great to work with them as well, helping to promote archery. I’m honored to have the chance to work with both East Union and this organization.”