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Paige McMillan back on Lady Panther bench

Paige McMillan back on Lady Panther bench

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 12:00 pm

By MIKE HUTCHENS
Press Sports
Paige McMillan joked, “I’m going to be at my son’s games anyway, I figure I might as well coach.”
Whether kidding or not, the Martin Middle School girls’ basketball team will benefit.
McMillan — whose husband Kevin is the women’s head coach at UT Martin — has taken over the reins of the MMS Lady Panther program as a non-faculty head coach.
More accurately, she has reassumed that role with the program
With now-former head coach Bethany Palmer headed to Westview High School as a fulltime assistant to Sean Stephenson, McMillan will return to a position she held previously for six seasons when her spouse was the Lady Charger skipper for a span that covered from 1998-2005.
The McMillans’ oldest child, Matthew, just entered the seventh grade at Martin Middle and will be a member of the Panther hoop squad this season.
Before watching him play, McMillan will guide the MMS girls, giving in she says, to “that itch to coach again.”
“I was actually approached by (Martin Middle Principal) Mr. (Nate) Holmes at the end of the school year when they had a couple of science positions open,” McMillan said. “I really didn’t want to commit myself to teaching and coaching, because I wouldn’t have been as flexible to go to Kevin’s games.
“This just worked out after that, and I’m excited to be back involved coaching again. When you love the game as much as I do, you just want to be around it. I guess that’s the competitive side of me.”
McMillan coached at both Trinity Christian Academy and Houston High School on the prep level after a standout playing career in which she earned a scholarship to Lambuth. She helped Gibson County to the Class 2A semifinals her senior year in 1989 after transferring from Germantown.
Paige has assisted her husband at both Westview and Gibson County, and also coached the Spring Hill/Yorkville Jr. High team during Kevin’s short tenure at GCHS.
She will be assisted at Martin Middle by Natalie Fuqua — whom she coached in her previous Lady Panther tenure — and by longtime program fixture Judy Suiter.
Stephenson insists the moves of Palmer into a full-time assistant role at Westview and McMillan’s role as MMS head coach is a win-win for his Lady Charger program.
“Bethany will be able to be at all of our practices now, and she’ll have more responsibilities with us at the high school level,” Stephenson said. “And having Paige — with her experience and knowledge of the game and that she’ll be able to fundamentals at the middle school level is great for us in the long run.”
Palmer coached the MMS program for three seasons, leading them to a pair of sectional semifinal appearances before taking the Lady Panthers all the way to the sectional championship game last year.
Published in The WCP 8.14.12

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