July 15, 2009
Adam Minichino - [email protected]
The timing proved to be perfect for Rusty Greene.
The veteran teacher and coach transitioned eight years ago into a role as an assistant principal at Caledonia Middle School.
But Greene recently decided he wanted to try something new, so he searched the area for another job as an administrator.
When Paul Henry left his job as athletic director for the Columbus Municipal School District, Greene never imagined that would be a job for him.
A phone call to CMSD Superintendent Dr. Del Phillips changed all of that.
On Monday night, Greene was approved to replace Henry as the school district''s new athletic director. His main duties will be to manage athletics in the CMSD''s schools, including Columbus High and Lee Middle School.
"I thought someone would jump on that pretty quick (after Henry left)," Greene said. "As soon as school was out I really had no intention of leaving Caledonia, but I just really needed a change and to try something different for a while."
Greene said he called Dr. Phillips hoping the CMSD would have a job open for administrator. Instead, he found the position for athletic director was still available.
"I thought how lucky can I be?" Greene said. "I walked in not thinking it could be an option. The timing was great. I got really lucky."
Greene, a certified social studies teacher, also will teach several classes at Columbus High.
Henry''s position started as a full-time athletic director before it became a athletic director/assistant principal position last year.
Henry left Columbus to become the principal at New Site High School.
Greene coached baseball at West Lowndes High from 1993-97 and at Caledonia from 1998-2001. He said his move from coaching into administration was part of a "natural progression" that helped his growing family.
He said his latest move "is a great opportunity" to help Columbus High transition to its first year as a Class 6A school, the largest classification in the state of Mississippi.
Greene, 46, said he knows Henry and he has kept in touch with him through the years. In fact, he said Henry plans to be in Lowndes County next week and will help him adjust to his new job.
Greene thanked Caledonia Middle School Principal Karen Pittman for being "the greatest boss" someone could ask for and all of the people he worked with at the school. He said his biggest challenge at CMSD athletic director will be to make sure all of the coaches get what they need to compete with the Starkvilles, Tupelos, and South Panolas of the state.
Greene believes Dr. Phillips and Columbus High Principal Craig Shannon are behind the athletic department and will help him do what he can to have all of the teams realize their potential.
"That is refreshing," Greene said. "Sometimes the commitment to winning is put on the backburner. I feel Columbus has the commitment to winning. As an athletic director that is something you want to hear."
Phillips said the CMSD found a "good fit" with Greene, and he is confident Greene will do well in his new role.
"He is a Columbus guy and he has done a real good job," Phillips said. "He brings athletic and administrative experience, which is something we were looking for.
"We''re real excited about it. We think he brings a tremendous amount of administrative and athletic experience to that job."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.