There are those people who instead of Mister carry the title of Coach. Coach Steve Hampton is a prime example, although he didn’t go to college with that aspiration. He went to Meridian Community College on two scholarships, one for tennis and one for basketball. That money was supposed to pay for a degree which would eventually lead to a career in business management and finance. Some would say that the Quitman School District Activities & Athletic Director, Personnel Director and Federal Programs Director is being just what he set out to be.
His keen ability to handle large projects and look to teams and balance life as a husband and father has also landed him the the title of 2014-2015 Quitman School District Administrator of the Year. Coach Hampton says, “I knew something was up when they told me I had to be at the board meeting.” He’s referencing the meeting in late April where Superintendent Suzanne Hawley stood in front of an audience and explained, “Our Administrator of the Year has many jobs, some of which include cleaning toilets.”
He explains to us today that being an assistant basketball coach at Delta State University, a head coach at New Hope High School in Columbus, MS, the head coach at Quitman School District, and the head coach at Delta State University provided him with the knowledge of what it took to lead teams and clean toilets all at once. He explains, “You just do what you have to do because someone has to do it.”
Sitting across the desk from Coach Hampton it becomes increasingly obvious that the blend of coach and teacher and director and now Administrator of the Year have become at least a partial definition of what being a Panther really means. He was raised in Meridian, and most people there always knew him as Bubba Hampton’s son. He is still Bubba Hampton’s son, but after twenty years of living as a Panther and married to a Panther and raising a Panther daughter Coach Hampton says, “I’m a Quitman guy now. I believe in this school and this place.”
As the guy who hears many hats at the central office, in the gyms, and out on the fields it is clear that he has the heart and mind for all the jobs. He shrugs when being given the compliment, ” I couldn’t do what I do without the people around me. Annette (Holloman), Elisa (Mayo), Karen (Chisolm), and the coaches and the parents and our community volunteers. It’s not just about me.”
Coach Hampton once made a couple of life goals. One was to win three hundred basketball games and the other was to coach basketball at a college level. What people are now seeing is a man who met his goals but never stopped coaching. Now his team is much larger than it ever was, and the Panther community wanted to make sure how much they appreciated all of his hard work.