Double your … coaching|Area coaches pull double duty directing boys, girls teams

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 15, 2008

In Greek mythology, the titan Atlas bore the weight of the world on his broad shoulders.

Several Warren County coaches aren’t shouldering that heavy a burden, but still lift a heavy load pulling double duty as both the boys’ and the girls’ coach in their particular sport.

Porters Chapel basketball coach E.J. Creel, St. Aloysius basketball coach Gary Miller and St. Al soccer coach Will Vollor have double the workload the rest of their coaching brethern have.

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They have to conduct two practices, learn two different sets of personalities and break down film of the opposition twice, as well as attend to their teaching jobs and families.

Creel and her husband, Vicksburg High baseball coach Jamie Creel, had a bitter inside joke that summed up their situation perfectly.

“We used to joke on Monday, ‘See you on Sunday,’” E.J. Creel said of her hectic 15-hour-a-day schedule. “From about January to July, our schedules overlap and we barely see each other.”

The former PCA standout agreed to take over just the girls program in order to get it out of the doldrums. Such was her loyalty to her alma mater that she took the position despite a full-time job as a dental hygienist — and now mother to two small children.

“Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m working from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. (at the dentist’s office),” Creel said. “Then it’s 6 p.m. until.”

Creel’s ascension to the boys position came at the end of one of the most turbulent chapters in PCA basketball history.

Boys coach Chris Etheridge departed after a severe car wreck in 2006. Assistant Jim Delaughter replaced him for the rest of the 2006 season, then Delaughter’s replacement, Mark Pierce, left the school after one season.

Creel agreed to take the job, despite the fact she was pregnant with her second child, and became the first woman to coach a boys basketball team in Warren County history.

Her first season doing double-duty, no matter what the win column said, ended on a positive note. The season finished up with a South State tournament game on a Thursday and her second child was born the following Tuesday.

Vollor was also cast into similar circumstances when there were a pair of vacancies within a span of a month last season. Vollor, who began the year as an assistant, ended it as head coach of both of St. Al’s soccer teams. He is also an assistant football coach.

“You’ve got to enjoy doing it,” Vollor said. “You’ve got to enjoy working with the kids. Otherwise, you’re not going to last. With football, I haven’t had a weekend off since July. It really takes a patient wife.”

Fellow St. Al coach Gary Miller, like Creel, is in his second year of double-duty. Miller has done it before at other stops in his coaching career. It helps that he runs most of the same sets for both teams.

“It’s a lot harder to prepare for two practices and two games,” Miller said. 

One difficult task for these coaches is switching gears mentally. To put it delicately, one has to adapt a different attitude and outlook when coaching girls vs. coaching boys.

Or not.

“A lot of people say that you can’t coach girls like you coach boys,” Miller said. “I don’t think so. But you really have to relate to them differently.”


Contact Steve Wilson at