Missy Gators hire soccer coach

Published 12:50 pm Friday, June 25, 2010

Being a college coach is great, but Kori Crutchfield Babb felt it was time to come home.

The former Vicksburg High star will leave her position as the head women’s soccer coach at Hinds Community College in Raymond to lead the Missy Gators’ soccer team.

Babb’s hire was approved at Thursday evening’s Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees meeting.

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During her four years at Hinds, Babb continued the Eagles’ tradition as one of the state’s top junior college soccer programs. Babb had four straight winning seasons, going a collective 45-25-3 in that span. That included a Region 23 title in 2006 and a MACJC state title in 2007. Hinds went 12-6-1 in 2008 and was 9-8 last year.

Still, the pull home to Vicksburg was too much to pass up.

“My family was the big reason why I’m coming back to Vicksburg High,” Babb said after the board approved her hiring. She coached girls’ fast-pitch softball at VHS for three years before leaving to take over at Hinds, where she starred in soccer and softball. As a soccer player, she was named a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American in 1999 and was a two-time All-Region 23 player. She still holds the career assists record at Hinds at 34.

“I enjoyed my experience at Hinds and I learned a lot. But the whole four years I was coaching at Hinds, I was living in Vicksburg. Then my son was born four months ago, so my family is the reason why I want to stay home,” Babb said.

Vicksburg Warren School District Athletic Director Lum Wright Jr., jumped at the chance to bring Babb back.

“She was a great player for us both in soccer and softball at Vicksburg High. She coached the fast-pitch team and then Hinds got her. When the soccer position came open, I begged and begged for her to come back,” Wright said.

Babb will replace interim coach David Case, who had to take over at midseason following the sudden resignation of long-time coach Kevin Manton.

“I feel like I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of my goals. I played soccer and softball at Vicksburg and Hinds. I got to coach softball at Vicksburg. I got to coach soccer at Hinds and now I’m going to get to coach soccer back at Vicksburg,” Babb said.

Babb was an outstanding teacher in the Vicksburg Warren School District and was named the district’s teacher of the year in 2006.

Now she has the job of building back the tradition-rich Missy Gator program.

“I know Vicksburg lost a lot of seniors last year, so my goal is to come in and build up the individual, raise their expectations and build up their skills,” Babb said.

In other coaching moves, the school board approved the hiring of Matt Gullett as the new golf coach at Warren Central and Candace Park as a new assistant coach in both fast-pitch and slow-pitch at Warren Central.