The Ashland Beacon
It’s not everyday that a school district has to replace someone who has been involved with the district in one way or another for 44 years, but when Rex Cooksey retired after last school year, Fairview was forced to find not one, but two replacements: an Athletic Director and a Girls Basketball Coach.
Enter Rick Lambert and Meaux Mullins.
Fairview Director of District Wide Programs, Ben Coleman attributes the direction Fairview is going and the new hires of Lambert and Mullins to the vision of Superintendent, Jackie Risden-Smith and the board for seeking to hire inside rather than outside. “This whole thing starts with her. Her vision all along,” and I can’t say enough about Coach Cooksey and his dedication, but when he retired the vision of her and the committee that did this was to hire people inside.” Coleman continues, “We have a superintendent who is a genius. Mrs. Risden-Smith is a huge fan of athletics, she’s an athlete herself. The board supports athletics, the staff has support for athletics, and you don’t get any better than Mrs. Risden-Smith and our board of education. She spearheaded this whole thing to be this is what we’re looking for.”
Newly hired Athletic Director, Rick Lambert is far from a stranger to Fairview Schools. Lambert has been at Fairview since Kindergarten. He played ball at Fairview. He coaches volleyball and has coached several other sports at Fairview. “I love sports in general, if we had marbles, I’d probably be trying to coach that, too,” he began and proceeds to share his ideas for Fairview athletics, “We’re going to try to build them all. It’s easy to say we want to be number one in everything, but that’s got to be your goal to be the best you can possibly be with what your given and push your kids to the limit.” “I want to do what’s best for all of our students, I want to do what’s best for all sports. I want to try to do what I can to make things better. I love it, it’s a challenge and I like a challenge in life.”
One of the first major hires Lambert would have to be a part of was the hiring of Girl’s Basketball Coach, and Fairview selected another long time Eagle to fit that position: Meaux Mullins. Even though he wasn’t a day one, when he transferred into Fairview Mullins remembers, “Those guys accepted me day one like I lived here my whole life. It was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done was to stay in this school and graduate from here.” Mullins continued, “I want to do whatever I can to help to make sure we’re a district who is proud of what’s going on in our community, proud of our kids, and proud of everything we do.”
As for the rigors of coaching, He’s prepared for the challenges that lie ahead, “I plan to approach it with a win-win mentality,” and elaborates, “If they see you and you’re willing to work hard at that, and you have their best interest at heart, and you’ll do whatever you have to do to make sure that their lives and their experience as a student athlete will demonstrate you’re concerned about them. It goes way beyond the sport. You get to know them personally, you get to know the issues they may be dealing with when you help them through that, you’re a mentor to them, sometimes a father figure to some of these kids and they see that, and if they see that they will walk through fire for you.”
His goals are deeper for the kids, however. “You want to make sure that when your kids leave the program they’re ready for the real world. They’re a better person than they were when you got them. I would feel better as a coach knowing that my kid left here and went on to become a productive member of the community and society they live in,” Mullins continues.
If the two already sound like they are on the same page, it’s simply because they have been a part of what they’re doing for many years from their playing days where both played for Cooksey together, to their teaching days, to this moment where they will lead together in uncertain times. The one common thread that ties it all together is a complete love of this community and its people, that pours from the community into the School district, and from the district into each student. “In our district, we’re so supportive of each other,” Mullins continues, “and so supportive of everybody from custodians and cafeteria workers, to every single student, all the way up to everyone at the district office.” If that sounds like a family, then understanding of the spirit of the Fairview community is starting to sink in.
As they wait to see what restrictions and limitations will be in place and if play will commence or be shelved for a while, the Fairview school district is ready to move forward together and face uncertainty with unity, and it doesn’t hurt that Rick Lambert and Meaux Mullins, who’ve played together on a record setting team are ready to elevate each player to grow a great program in a very special district.