Attala native claims national college administrator award

By LAURENCE HILLIARD,

An Attala County native is the recipient of a prestigious national award.

Bracky Brett, execute senior associate athletic director at Mississippi State University, received the Frank Kara Leadership Award from the National Association for Athletics Compliance. It is the organization's highest award, given annually since 2010 to an athletics administrator who demonstrates leadership and vision.

In his position, Brett is charged with keeping Mississippi State athletics operating within NCAA and Southeastern Conference rules and regulations.

“I was very surprised, very humbled and appreciative of the recognition,” he said. “It is a testament of not just me, but the compliance staff and our entire university and how we work day to day in our commitment to athletic compliance.”

Brett grew up in the Williamsville community of Attala County on a farm where his 91-year-old mother still lives. He graduated from East Holmes Academy in 1974, then attended Holmes Community College.  He received an undergraduate degree in health and physical education, with a minor in math from Mississippi State in 1978, and a master's in physical education and school administration from MSU two years later.

Brett spent 24 years as a teacher and coach at the high school level in Mississippi. When asked the schools, he jokingly said “You don't have enough paper to write all that.”

He began as a math teacher and coach, mainly football and track, for three years at Winona Christian. After that came stops in Grenada, Tupelo, Starkville and Hamilton. “I had a very long and satisfying career in secondary education.”

The return to Mississippi State to monitor compliance came in 2002 when he was offered the position by former athletic director Larry Templeton and Dr. David Boles, assistant athletic director for academics and compliance. “He was kind of my mentor during the early years. He really helped me get started to what we do today,” Brett said of Boles, who has since retired. “I think almost everyone who was here when I started has retired.”

The early years was a process of learning the NCAA rule book. “As the years go by, you get more comfortable in what you are doing and it becomes easier to keep up.”

When he started, there were two people in the compliance office. Now there are five, a necessity as the job has become more complex.

“It’s an ongoing process. Not only are we educating ourselves, but we have to educate our student-athletes, coaches, staff and alumni. We’re charged with making sure everybody understands and appreciates Dr. Keenum’s commitment to compliance.” Dr. Mark E. Keenum is the MSU president.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everything, including the job of compliance. “The obligations of the job are the same. The challenge is how we go about the day to day monitoring and everything we do in this virtual world. It’s a process where everybody is adjusting to the new ways we communicate.”

Brett mentioned a new term – Zoom fatigue. “People are tired and worn out from being on Zoom with these virtual meetings.”

Even the National Association for Athletics Compliance convention when Brett received the award was virtual.