Etheridge assumes AD post for Eagles

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 2004

[12/21/04]Chris Etheridge started 2004 looking to hone his skills as a basketball coach. He spent most of the year working on his administrative skills, as well, and will start 2005 with another job title.

Etheridge, an assistant basketball coach at Porters Chapel Academy, has been hired as the school’s new athletic director. He has been PCA’s assistant athletic director since June, and will take on the position full-time when classes resume after the holiday break.

Etheridge will also continue his coaching duties. He is the head coach for the boys and girls junior high basketball teams, an assistant for the varsity basketball and fast-pitch softball teams, and the head coach for golf.

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“It’s pretty much just a transfer of the title. I’ve been doing work the whole year under (PCA headmaster Gwen Reiber’s) supervision,” Etheridge said of the athletic director job. “They just made it official so they could have somebody out there spearheading the athletic department.”

Etheridge was hired for the coaching positions last spring and was pressed into administrative duty when former athletic director Bubba Mims died in May.

The AD job was transferred to the headmaster’s office, with Reiber running the athletic department on an interim basis. Etheridge was given the job of assistant athletic director in addition to his other duties.

Since assuming that role in June, Etheridge has made schedules and ordered equipment for PCA’s various athletic programs, as well as dealing with coaches, parents and Mississippi Private Schools Association officials.

As Etheridge grew into the job, Reiber said it became apparent he was the right person to take it on full-time.

“Getting to know him was the biggest reluctance at the beginning. We wanted to watch him in action,” Reiber said. “He’s organized. He’s a people person. He has a passion for athletics and a commitment to Porters Chapel. All of those are necessary ingredients, I think.”

The 28-year-old Etheridge had no formal experience as an AD, but did have a lot of familiarity with Mississippi Private Schools officials and processes. His father was an assigning secretary for the MPSA. That allowed the younger Etheridge to see how the system works and helped ease him into the assistant athletic director position.

“It makes it easier for me, dealing with the official part of it, dealing with (MPSA director of activities) Les Triplett and the officials, because they know my name,” Etheridge said.

He added that while his background helps, it’s no substitute for actual on-the-job experience.

“I’ve got a lot of reading to do over the Christmas holidays,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve got a lot of things to learn, but I’m fortunate to have good people above me who can help.”