- Associated Press - Sunday, January 26, 2014

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - After 26 years as Hernando High School football coach, Anthony Jenkins will be the first athletic director for Mississippi’s largest school district.

DeSoto County schools Superintendent Milton Kuykendall announced the promotion Friday at Hernando High, The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1e0CZGp) reported.

“We’ve never had a countywide athletic director, and I think it’s time,” said Kuykendall, a former basketball coach at Horn Lake and Hickory Flat, where he led teams to three Class 1A state championships in the 1980s. “With a growing population and so many sports being added, it was needed.”

It will take much of the pressure for managing athletics off principals and assistant principals while positioning the district to create its own countywide league for athletic competition, Kuykendall said.

The new job starts March 3 Jenkins will play a part in personnel matters, including hiring and firing coaches, Kuykendall said.

“He won’t have veto power over principals,” Kuykendall said, “but he will work with them.”

The district has 33,000 students and eight high schools.

Later Friday, officials said Olive Branch High School assistant coach Jeremy Toungett is replacing Scott Samsel immediately as head football coach. Samsel was reassigned to teach history at the county school for students with disciplinary problems.

Olive Branch quarterback Ross Trail was ruled ineligible in September.

Toungett, 35, is an Olive Branch graduate who played football at Auburn University and has a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

“When given a chance to come home, he jumped at the opportunity and has worked as an assistant football coach at OBHS for four years,” principal Allyson Killough said in a news release. “He will continue Olive Branch High School’s great tradition of football.”

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Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com