Hayles’ Rebs small but determined

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2000

When the Adams County Christian School basketball team met for the first time last month, the players were cautiously optimistic. Both of them.

The majority of the team – now only eight strong – was still on the football field, as was their coach, Rebels’ defensive coordinator and head basketball coach Paul Hayles.

The small Rebels squad is only 1-6, struggling through a lack of numbers and a lack of practice as a team.

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&uot;When you’re in a situation like this in a small school, you have the same kids play sports one right after the other,&uot; Hayles said.

&uot;Football, basketball, baseball and then track. Unfortunately, some kids take a break and skip basketball, and that hurts our program.&uot;

But similar problems are faced by coaches at any small school, Hayles said.

&uot;The part (of coaching) that I find most challenging is finding the exact buttons to push to get the most out of a child,&uot; he said. &uot;But that’s, again, something that every coach has to do.&uot;

Working with children more than makes up for the hardships involved with coaching, Hayles added.

&uot;When I first started coaching, I didn’t have kids of my own,&uot; he said. &uot;Now I have two, and it just reinforces the enjoyment I get out of bettering a kid through athletics – teaching discipline, time management – that you get out what you put into something.&uot;

His current basketball team is learning just that, he added.

&uot;It would have been easy for them to just fold in their tents and quit, but they didn’t. I respect that,&uot; Hayles said. &uot;I try to tell them that if they stick it out and play the way you’re capable of playing, you’ll always be a winner.&uot;

With head football coach Bo Swilley’s recent resignation, Hayles would like to continue giving his coaching advice in that capacity.

&uot;That’s a decision for the school to make,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ll wait and see.&uot;

Football was his first love, Hayles said, as he played the sport for ACCS, Copiah-Lincoln Community College and Delta State University before becoming an assistant coach with the Statesmen as a graduate student.

Hayles can’t say with authority which sport he enjoys more.

&uot;I’d have to lean toward football, I guess, but I enjoy basketball thoroughly,&uot; he said.