Coaches: Sumpter a ‘vital part’ of Natchez-Adams sports

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2000

Steven Sumpter has washed plenty of clothes in his lifetime — but none of them are his own. As a volunteer with the Natchez-Adams School District’s athletic program, one of his many duties is to wash uniforms.

&uot;If Steve had a penny for every uniform he’s washed in 18 years, he’d be rich,&uot; said Coach Sue Johnson.

Sumpter, 31, who earned a special education certificate from North Natchez High School in 1987, has volunteered with the athletic programs for 18 years, even before he finished school. He walks to Natchez High nearly every day to help, often taking care of equipment and keeping score at the games. &uot;I just kept on coming. I like to help children,&uot; he said. &uot;(I) just love to do it — volunteer like that.&uot;

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Sumpter works with the football, softball and ninth-grade basketball teams but he does not have a favorite.

&uot;This is my favorite sport … football, softball, basketball,&uot; he said.

Johnson has worked with Sumpter since he was in school.

She said she loves him like a son.

And &uot;everybody thinks he’s my son,&uot; she said.

Sumpter has also been an asset to assistant softball coach Bonita Hamilton, Johnson said.

&uot;He’s a vital part to this athletic organization,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;We work good together. I don’t know what I’d do without him.&uot;

And Sumpter also attends all the games and likes to fire up the team, she said. &uot;He gets into the game. He takes it very serious,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;He (doesn’t) like to lose.&uot;

Football coach Elbert &uot;Mo&uot; Lyles said Sumpter is dependable and often helps visiting teams when they arrive for a game. &uot;I can count on Steve to do exactly what I need to be done,&uot; he said. &uot;He enjoys his work too. (The) kids like him. He’s just a big help.&uot;

Sumpter also volunteered during this year’s city election and volunteers with little league baseball, basketball and men’s basketball.

He has a simple message for all of Natchez’s athletes.

&uot;I’d like them to learn from their coaches (and) listen to their coaches,&uot; he said. &uot;(If) they listen to all the coaches they’ll win.&uot;

Sumpter is the son of Evelyn Mackel and has two brothers, Verdel and Harry.