MARSHALL, TX (WDAM) - Wiley College in Marshall, Tx held a press conference today to officially welcome their newest director of athletics: South Jones High and Jones County Junior College graduate Janet Eaton. With the appointment, Eaton is the first ever female director of athletics in the history of the college.
"Today was personal for me," said Eaton.
So personal, in fact, that her mother, sister and other family members surprised her when she took the podium for the press conference. "When I first walked up, I had no idea my mom was coming," shared Eaton, "I didn't know my sister, I didn't know my family from Mississippi was coming.
"I don't want to use the word, ‘overwhelming,' but I was just so over-joyed. I was very proud. It was tearful."
Wiley's administration promoted Eaton from her position of head basketball coach of Wiley College's women's basketball team around mid-June. For Eaton, taking over as athletics director means the conclusion of a coaching career that stretched 20 years.
"As a professional, I was ready to make the next step," Eaton explained, "Was it hard to say goodbye to the game of basketball? To the game of basketball, no. Not really, because I was ready for administration.
"For the people that played under me, for the young ladies, yes, that hurt."
Before entering the ranks of coach, Eaton made her mark at South Jones High School and Jones County Junior College. At South Jones, she helped lead the 1988 team to an undefeated 37-0 mark and a Mississippi state title.
"I say all the time that I'm a little country girl, but I am so proud to be from Eastabuchie, Mississippi," said Eaton. "I am so proud to graduate from South Jones High school and graduate from Jones Junior College. I'm very very proud to be a Mississippi girl."
Eaton says that she still plans to contribute to her community any way she can if she's able. She travels back to her hometown only about two or three times a year, but when she does manage to get back, she loves what awaits her at the dinner table.
"When I do go home, I kind of relax, but I really just want to eat my mama's food," she said laughing.
There will certainly be challenges awaiting her at her new post, but Eaton simply says, "I'm ready to go. I'm ready to hit the ground running."
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