Milton Ray settling in as new West Harrison boys basketball coach

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's a rare occasion for the newest boys basketball coach for West Harrison High School.

Milton Ray hasn't had much time to sit down and relax but he did get to do so after an early morning practice Wednesday. He took over for the retiring Doug Bazzell three weeks ago and is still in the process of decorating his office.

However, he wasn't brought to the coast from Forest Hill High School in Jackson to have the most eye-catching workplace. He's now the driving force behind a team that's been wreaking havoc in the 5A ranks for the past couple of years.

"Coach Bazzell has done a good job with the guys," Ray said. "A great job, actually. What I told the guys when I first got here is that we want to take them to (a greater level). They lost three games last year, so we want to make sure we don't lose those three this year. We just want to make sure that whatever they did last year, we just want to build on it to take it to the next level."

The 34-year-old will celebrate his 35th birthday next month, and will begin his 13th year of coaching overall this year but his first at West Harrison after spending the last four years at Forest Hill.

The 2001 graduate of Mississippi Valley State became a Delta Devil after accepting a track scholarship. So besides winning and running to keep his mind at ease, there's also another tradition he's going to keep going here on the coast.

"For some reason I always have to go to Sonic to get a strawberry slush before a game," Ray said. "It relaxes me or something. I don't know what it is. That's one thing that's different (about me) but it has to be that flavor. A strawberry slush. A strawberry fruit slush."