The Noon Optimist Club of Marshall met Wednesday at the Golden Corral meeting room. President Le Ila Dixon convened the meeting and asked Optimist Ned Calvert to pray followed by the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag and the recitation of the Optimist’s creed.
Optimist Le Ila welcomed all, especially guests: Soo Yun Fugler who works for American Airlines, Molly Hollis newly of Edward D. Jones, and Coach Jodi Satterwhite. She then asked Optimist Rusty Asaff to introduce Coach Satterwhite, MISD Assistant Athletic Director.
Girls Athletics, who has been in her current position since the spring of 2017. Satterwhite started with MISD in 2000 as the Lady Mavs’ Head Track Coach, and prior to assuming her present position she headed Swimming and assisted with Cross Country, Basketball and Volleyball. Before coming to Marshall, She also coached in various roles at Ore City ISD, Queen City ISD and Liberty-Eylau ISD. She holds a B.S. degree in Kinesiology and Health Education from Louisiana State University in Shreveport.
Optimist Rusty noted that Satterwhite, like Karnack native Lady Bird Johnson before her, has achieved national renown having been named to the 2019 Under Armour Women of Will Hall of Fame. The newly inaugurated program and her being selected as one of the first five, “came as a complete surprise” to Satterwhite.
“This program puts women’s sports in the forefront,” she emphasized, and “its promotion will be national. Only 50 schools are ‘women of will’ schools” which gives MISD an opportunity to get equipment at a reduced price.” Satterwhite was taken aback at the comparison to the late First Lady and modestly replied that “in any sports program you have your ups and downs and we, happily, are in an up cycle and I’m not speaking only of wins and losses but of the important community service in which the athletes engage. Expectations of our athletes are high in the classroom, on the field, and in the community.”
“The fact that the Under Armour program is called Women of Will,” said Satterwhite, “emphasizes that our girls are just as important as any of the guys and I have been blessed by being given what is needed to make that importance felt by the athletes. We have just finished (well, almost 1 finished!) a new girls locker room at MISD. It will look as fine as any collegiate locker room in the country.”
For all the recent improvements, but especially those for the girls, Satterwhite expressed gratitude to the folks whose votes showed their commitment to the future of MISD in its bond drive. That drive provided the funding for the new Junior High, three new Elementary Schools, and significant improvements at Sam Ho
uston Elementary and as well as those being completed at the High School. “The support of our community is felt by staff and faculty but most enduringly by the students,” she said. When Optimist Le Ila asked if we would have an opportunity to see the locker room when completed,” Satterwhite promised a special invitation.
When queried about the key components to turning around girls athletics in MISD, Satterwhite said, “you’ve got to have a lot of help. You’ve also got to hire good people and then let them do their job.” “And we,” she added “have got some really good people and they are good teachers. In fact, we are loaded with great teachers and that makes the kids excited to learn! That’s why in volleyball our Lady Mavs recently beat Pine Tree for the first time we can remember and got a draw from Hallsville last night. In fact, we have an opportunity in multiple fields to make the playoffs this year.”
Optimist Richard Magrill noted that Optimist Rusty had introduced Satterwhite as being from Karnack (where she still lives) and asked her about growing up there and “who were the mentors who inspired you to be a coach?” “Growing up in Karnack” she said, “you enjoyed one of the best school and community experiences ever among life-long friends.
From kindergarten through the 12th grade you were with the same group of kids and there was a great comfort level; it felt like you were at home.” At Karnack there were three male coaches who showed her that athletics was a pathway for getting through high school especially for those who were not as interested in the academic side of it.
Her own primary interest was in playing basketball, but she kept in top shape with track the rest of the year. The names of those coaches who befriended and inspired the young Satterwhite: J.B. Haggerty, currently track coach at Tatum, and Fred Wilson and Larry Hygh who are both now retired. “Athletics,” she stressed, “keep kids in school and forms long term relationships! I still have kids who have been gone for years who continue to text me and maintain contact. That’s the kind of relationship and trust and love we share. You have to be genuine. Every coach on our staff is very genuine. You’ve got to love kids to be a coach. Some of them don’t have parents, clothes, or even food, but they can find success in athletics.”
Satterwhite counsels her girls, “being gainfully employed and taking care of yourself is ‘success.’ I don‘t care about the games won. Our team is a family and you are fighting for victory in life with your family surrounding you!”