Woody Barnett has been named as the first Executive Director of the Mississippi Athletic Administrators Association (MAAA).
Barnett retired in 2013 as athletic director at Pearl High School. He spent 36 years in education after graduating from Mississippi College, winning 43 MHSAA state championships as a track and field and cross country coach. Barnett grew up in Jackson and graduated from Provine High School in 1972.
The MAAA was founded in 2002 and has more than 225 members from MHSAA schools across the state.
“Woody has been involved with the MAAA for many years,” said Biloxi athletic director Tom Gladney, president of MAAA and one of four athletic directors who made up the selection committee. “He was involved with a lot of those committees as well as with MHSAA with all of his efforts in track and cross country. We interviewed some great people for this position, but I think Woody’s involvement in so many different areas kind of separated him from some others.”
Barnett has continued to serve as Meet Director for both the MHSAA State Cross Country Meet and MHSAA State Track and Field Meet since his retirement from Pearl.
“I watched the MAAA grow from when it started as a little get together in the MHSAA office to where it had to be moved to other sites because it got too big,” Barnett said. “And it has continued to grow over the years.
“Just like our coaches have their own association (with the MAC), I strongly feel that our athletic directors need the same kind of opportunity. The MHSAA has done a great, great job with the athletic administrators’ conference, but having this new position will allow someone to concentrate specifically on the MAAA. I hope we can move the organization forward with the AD conference and AD leadership and certification programs. It can move the profession to a higher level.
“It’s a great honor to be the first Executive Director of the MAAA. I am going to do my darnedest to to do my best with this as well as get other people involved to help grow the association.”