A Q&A With Team MS Manager Craig Kirkland

People know all about the players who are selected to play in the AL-MS All-Star Classic game held in Mobile, Alabama, but few people know about the high school managers who are also selected to play in the game. I interviewed these best of the best Mississippi high school managers while at the Team Mississippi practices. One of them is Madison Central High School senior manager Craig Kirkland.

You are one of the Mississippi all-star team managers. How did you get selected to be one of the two managers?
"The selection process was through the coaches and some of it was with the referees, them getting to know you through the years as a manager."

How long have you been a manager?
"This is my third year for football and I have been doing baseball for five years."

As far as college is concerned, do you want to manage on the collegiate level as well?
"I plan on going to Ole Miss or Mississippi State for a baseball manager scholarship. If I can't get that, then I would like to be a football manager because I feel like I can get one with football."

What has it been like working with all these Mississippi high school football all-stars during this week of practices?
"It's been a great experience, seeing all these guys, the best 40 players in Mississippi supposedly. It's been really good watching them. Seeing all the players and talking to them, it's really fun. Compared to our practices (at Madison Central) it's been a little different. It's a fast tempo but I like it."

Being the manager, how have the guys treated you? Are you the guy the players pick on a little bit, although I'm sure it's all in fun?
"Sometimes, but it's nothing personal. We have a good time. They know I'm out here to help. They treat me nice and I treat them nice. We just kind of joke around with each other. It's been fun."

Is there one thing you will remember about this experience over all the other things?
"Everything. Just the experience with all the players, knowing that some of these guys are going off to college, maybe even go pro. I can say I was with that guy a whole week and I know him and I helped him with this, I've done this with him, he's a really nice guy. Just everything about it."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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