McMinn part of South Panola Sports Hall of Fame class

Published 10:10 am Thursday, March 9, 2023

Longtime South Panola coach had multiple whistles

Thirteen individuals will be recognized by the South Panola High School Sports Hall of Fame 

Committee this spring. The honorees will include eight athletes, two coaches and three 

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individuals for community service

Biographical features are being published for this year’s inductees leading up to the spring ceremony.

The inductees will join the SP Hall of Fame inaugural class of Darrell Arnold, Pete Robertson

Bennie Abson, Robert Lightsey, Whitney Kiihnl Hickmon, Chris McMinn, Detris Whitten, Deshea 

Townsend, Brenda Miles Gray and Jason Chrestman

The late Dr. Deck Stone was recognized for his years of service to South Panola

Individualsbiographies will be published prior to this spring’s induction ceremony.

Ronald “Runt” McMinn

While others were taking advantage of the crappie spawn in our nearby lakes, Ronald Lee (Runt) McMinn was usually cutting the grass or raking pitchers’ mounds at one of the local baseball diamonds. When he was coaching football, he was also seeding, fertilizing and watering the turf.

Whether he was coaching at South Panola, managing JP Hudson Park or Batesville City Parks or serving as Chairman of Panola County’s Election Commission, arguably nobody has touched as many lives as McMinn.

It is no surprise that he has been named to South Panola’s Athletic Hall of Fame, 2021 Class along with others deserving of this recognition.

Nicknamed Runt from an early age, he graduated from Batesville High School in 1962 where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball earning second team all Delta Valley Conference in football and was the leading hitter on the baseball team.

The following year school consolidation led to the renaming of the district to South Panola School. SP Hall of Fame members must come from either South Panola or Patton Lane Schools after that change.

But it is not McMinn’s high school athleticism for which he was named, it was his coaching career at South Panola.

He attended Northwest Jr. College and was leading hitter his sophomore year. He also was team manager for the basketball team with the duties of  cleaning the gym floor everyday, washing uniforms and keeping stats.

He also reported the basketball coach made him drive the team bus to Northeast Mississippi  Jr. College although he had never driven a bus previously.

But it was at Northwest where he decided  he wanted to be a coach stating that Northwest played an important role in his life.

He continued his education and baseball career at  Delta State. In his junior year he was leading hitter and as a senior received the Outstanding Service Award in baseball and served as Student Assistant Coach before graduating in 1967.

He returned to Batesville in 1968 and joined South Panola’s coaching staff. During 25 years there he coached boys’ and girls’ basketball, football, baseball and served as athletic director.

His Lady Tiger basketball team won the 1971 State AA Championship and the Overall State Championship. His 1972 girls’ team also won the State AA Championship and he was named District Coach of the Year, Chickasaw Conference Coach of the Year and was selected to coach the Mississippi All-Star game.

During the 11 years that he was head football coach his teams won two conference championships and a district title. He was honored with Conference Coach of the Year and District Coach of the Year titles.

McMinn led the baseball program for 12 years winning two district titles and two Chickasaw Conference Championships. He was named Conference and District Coach of the Year titles also in baseball and selected to coach in the State All-Star game.

Recently SP’s baseball indoor practice facility was named for him.

Following retirement from South Panola in 1992, he served as election commissioner for 16 years while also coaching and assisting with basketball, baseball, and football at North Delta Schools helping lead that football team to a State Championship.