Coach Scott Duley has helped take East Union and the sport of high school powerlifting to another level over the past seven years. Duley's reward for his hard work and efforts has landed him as a national finalist in the sport as he will travel to Bismarck, North Dakota next week for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association convention.
Duley's resume at East Union includes four consecutive Class I Girls State titles from 2016-19 plus three 2A Boys State Championships from 2013-15. East Union is currently on a run of seven straight powerlifting titles in either boys or girls competition with a strong possibility of a fifth girls title on the horizon as practically the entire team returns in 2020.
Duley told the New Albany Gazette recently that he thinks there are seven or eight coaches in the running for the national coach of the year award in the special sports category of which he is a part of.
Other nominees in special sports include coaches of hockey, badminton, competitive cheer, cheerleading, alpine ski and gymnastics.
"I don't know just a whole lot about this, but as far as I know, I am one of eight finalists," Duley said. "It's a coaches clinic and there will be speakers. I think each one of the finalists has a 30 minute time slot to speak.
"My topic is going to be 'The Psychology of Success' and I'm just going to talk about how to motivate different kids in different ways and how that can lead to a successful program, not just a successful year, but a successful program over the years and building a program based upon meeting students where they are at."
Duley stated that the presentation for the coach of the year in each category area is on Tuesday.
Daily Journal area coaches besides Duley that are nominees for coach of the year honors include Charles Covington of Saltillo (girls cross country), Greg Warnick of Tupelo Christian Preparatory School (boys cross country), Lucas Smith of Tupelo (swimming & diving) and Louis Nash of Oxford (tennis).
Other coaches from Mississippi that were nominated and their sport are Tyler Rogers of Nanih Waiya (baseball),Jonathan Perkins of Clinton (girls track & field), Todd Beach of Madison Central (golf) and Justin Cheney of Newton County (softball).
"After that we will know who won and who didn't win," Duley said. "I don't expect to win because when you talk about national coach of the year, there are some nominated who have been coaching for 30-40 years and have hundreds and hundreds of wins and maybe a dozen state championships.
"I'm just very thankful and very honored to be able to make the trip and represent East Union, Union County and North Mississippi and the Mid-South. I'm thankful for the opportunity to go be a part of a group of coaches that are the best in the nation."
Bubba Davis who is with the Mississippi Association of Coaches was responsible for Duley's nomination according to Duley. Davis came to East Union back in the spring to make the announcement of Duley's nomination.
The Union County School District is financing Duley's trip and the coach is deeply appreciative for the support from the Union County School Board.
"They are paying my way out there, the plane ticket and the hotel room, meals and things like that, otherwise it would be very difficult to get out there," Duley said. "They have just gone above and beyond what I could have expected in getting me out there to North Dakota."
Duley says he has been blessed with some great athletes over the years and attributes the success of the powerlifting program to the cooperation of all the coaches, administrators, parents and athletes at East Union.
"Our girls have never lost a meet over four years to a single team in any invitational or any qualifying meet," said Duley. "We've beaten every team that we have competed against in four years.
"I often say that our success is due to the coaches at East Union and I just think that is the best answer and it is the most accurate. The other coaches, the administration, the teachers and the parents have been more supportive than you can imagine, not only allowing me to work out kids that are in season, but encouraging those kids to come and participate. Another reason is that we have good athletes right now. We have some very, very strong young ladies and they show up everyday. They don't miss a workout if they have to come in the morning, if they have to come after school, if they have to come in the middle of the day. We have young ladies who are working jobs, going to school and helping at home, but they still find time to come up there and work out."
Duley attributed the dedication of his student athletes as well as the support from the parents and school staff as the determining factors in the success for East Union powerlifting.
"One thing that I do forget and I shouldn't is my family, my wife, my daughters and my sons run the meets that we host which basically means about a 12 to 14 hour day," Duley said. "My wife and daughters run the computers, my oldest son runs the concession stand, taking up money as people walk through the door.
"Coach (Brandon) Cherry and Coach (Kevin) Walton have gone above and beyond when it comes to doing anything that I need to set up for these meets. We just have a real family atmosphere at East Union and that's a huge factor in all of our success. That's why we have won the All Sports Award the last two years. It's the family atmosphere and the willingness of everyone to pitch in."