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VWSD, Adidas near new apparel contract

The Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees tentatively approved an agreement Thursday with Adidas to provide apparel for Vicksburg and Warren Central High Schools’ sports teams.

The contract was approved contingent on the board’s attorney Briggs Hopson and superintendent Chad Shealy making final changes to the terms. The board chose to tentatively approve the contract because VWSD Athletic Director Preston Nailor said it needed to be in place by April 4 so the process of designing and ordering uniforms for next season could begin.

The contract provides the school district with $35,000 worth of free merchandise each season and discounts on Adidas gear including footwear, uniforms and apparel. In the first year of the contract, there is an added compensation for Vicksburg High School to buy one set of football uniforms and get a second free.

Nailor estimated that a new football uniform, excluding pads and helmet, costs $150 to $225 per player. Combined, Vicksburg High and Warren Central had nearly 200 varsity football players on their rosters in 2016.

Jerseys and pants are typically replaced every few years as they wear out.

“It’s big. Not only do we get to wear a brand, but we get to save some money,” Nailor said. “Now it gives us the ability to keep some uniforms in stock and save money. Everything now is going up. Being with a brand that can offer discounts and give everybody the same thing is going to open a lot of doors for us.”

Vicksburg High will unify its color scheme. Previously, teams wore a mix of black, white and different shades of green. Nailor said all of VHS’ teams will wear Kelly green and white once the next generation of uniforms are all purchased.

Warren Central’s classic red and white football uniforms could also get an overhaul, although Nailor said that is still in the planning phase.

“We’re definitely talking about giving a different look, if not this year then next year. We’re trying to design something where Warren Central will stand out as well,” Nailor said.

Under the terms of the contract, students, staff and administrators must “exclusively use and wear Adidas products whenever engaged in any sporting event and any other athletic activities, including games and practice sessions, being photographed or filmed by motion picture or video tape, posting to social media and conducting or participating in camps or clinics.”

The deal also includes the ability for teams to earn bonus equipment based on performance, including $2,000 in merchandise for a football state championship, $1,000 in merchandise for a championship in basketball, baseball or volleyball, and $500 in merchandise for a championship in an additional sport. Bonuses can also be earned for coach of the year awards and division championships.

The expectation is that it will be four years before every team is fully outfitted in Adidas gear, Nailor said, but both football teams will have new Adidas uniforms next season.

The board also unanimously approved the naming of the football fields at Viking and Memorial Stadiums.

The field at Warren Central’s Viking Stadium will be named for Robert Morgan Sr. and the field at Vicksburg High’s Memorial Stadium will be named for James Sturgis Sr.

Morgan served as a teacher and coach at Warren Central High School for 43 years, including 19 as the head football coach. During his tenure, he led the Vikings to two state championships in 1988 and 1994. He was inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004.

Morgan retired in 2004, but has remained on Warren Central’s football staff as a part-time assistant coach.

“The only state champions that have been won at Warren Central were under (Morgan’s) tutelage,” board member Alonzo Stevens said.

Strugis worked for the school district from 1953 until 1987 as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent.

“Ninety percent of all championships that were won at Vicksburg, it was either with James Sturgis as principal as assistant superintendent,” Stevens said.

In order to finalize the naming of the two fields, the board waived the policy requiring that a person be deceased for at least three years before having a facility named after them. The resolution that was passed by the board stated they were waiving the policy to name the two fields “for these two respective living leaders honoring each of their great contributions.”

The resolution continued that the policy was only waived to honor Sturgis and Morgan and does not “set any future precedent for the future naming of other District facilities.”

One other field, Warren Central softball’s Lucy Young Field, has been named for a living person.