July 31, 2012

Former Women’s Basketball Players Climbing The Collegiate Coaching Ladder

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Four former Campbell women's basketball players either took collegiate coaching jobs or promotions in the profession this summer.

Former CU forward Katelyn Bass recently began her coaching career and was named an assistant coach at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, Texas) early last week. At ACU, Bass will work with former Charleston Southern head coach Julie Goodenough. Goodenough was familiar with Bass and the strong work ethic she showed at Campbell against her team in the games played last season and felt that same strong work ethic would translate well to the coaching profession when she was looking for a second assistant coach to fill their graduate assistant position. Bass, a 2012 Campbell graduate and four-year letterwinner for the Lady Camels from 2008-12, had a banner senior season for CU in averaging 11.3 points per game (17th in the Big South) and 6.8 rebounds a contest (seventh in the Big South). The Wake Forest, N.C. native also started all 30 games while shooting .482 from the field (146-for-303) and .726 from the free throw line (45-for-62). Bass pulled down 17 rebounds against Charleston Southern (2/20/12) and became the 56th player in CU women's basketball history with 17 or more rebounds in a game. On the campaign, Bass put together four double-doubles and scored a career-high 20 points against Winthrop (1/3012). She ended her Campbell career with 544 points, 368 rebounds and 52 steals. Bass will work closely with the rest of Abilene Christian staff in areas of recruiting, scouting and general oversight of the program.

"Playing for Coach Watkins at Campbell prepared me well for this job," Bass explained. "For years I closely watched what Coach Watkins and the rest of the coaching staff did for me and my teammates on a day-to-day basis and only now that I am working in the coaching profession can I really truly appreciate everything they did for us to help prepare us for the rest of our lives. Coach Watkins and I always had a great relationship when I was a player at Campbell, but I feel like now that I am gone and on my own our relationship and friendship has only gotten stronger. She is and always will be someone that I can look up to and talk to about anything. She is and continues to be a great influence on me and she aided me to get this opportunity to work here at Abilene Christian."

Former Campbell player Jarita Crump rejoining the staff at Saint Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C. in May of 2012. Crump returns to the Lady Falcons basketball staff after spending the 2011-12 season at Leesville Road High School as the varsity girls basketball coach. Crump began her collegiate coaching career at St. Aug as an assistant coach during the 2010-11 season and aided the program to a 19-11 mark, an 11-6 CIAA record and an appearance in the CIAA Tournament semifinals. From 2008-10, Crump was the head varsity girls basketball coach at Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh. During her two seasons in charge of the program, the Lady Holy Rams won the NCISAA State 1-A Title and were the state runner-ups. Her two years produced a combined record of 33-11. She started her coaching career as an assistant coach on the varsity at Word of God from 2006-07. Crump was a four-year letterwinner at Campbell from 1998-02 and aided the Lady Camels to a TAAC Conference Championship and an appearance in the 2000 NCAA Tournament. CU won the Atlantic Sun regular season title in 2001. Crump was the winner of the Don Phelps Memorial Most Improved Player Award in 2001 and was selected to the all-conference academic team from 2000-02. She graduated from Campbell in 2003 with her degree in trust management while minoring in financial planning. She also earned a master's degree from Campbell in business administration.

"I have always loved the sport of basketball, but I didn't realize my passion for the coaching profession until I was at working as an assistant coach at Word of God and I sort of fell into a great situation," Crump stated. "The opportunity to have Coach Watkins as a coach and mentor meant a great deal to me. She taught me so many things that I have tried to teach to all the young women that I work with. Coach Watkins is very sincere and genuine. She cared about her team very much as both players and people. I have always felt like I could talk to Coach Watkins about anything and that is the type of coach that I have tried to be. I was fortunate to be part of the staff at Saint Augustine's two years ago in a part-time role while working full-time during the day at BB&T. I knew that if things ever worked out that I would like to be part of the staff in a full-time capacity and this year everything just worked out accordingly to be part of Coach Rachel Bullard's staff."

Jennifer Lodge, who was a four-year starter and former post player at Campbell from 2003-07, was named the head coach at Franklin College (Franklin, Ind.) in early May of 2012. Prior to her head coaching appointment, Lodge was most recently the lead assistant coach at Mars Hill College (Mars Hill, N.C.) for two years from the fall of 2010 to the spring of 2012. At Mars Hill she worked in a variety of roles including being the program's academic advisor, recruiting coordinator and strength and conditioning coach. Prior to her time at Mars Hill, Lodge spent a pair of seasons work at Gannon University (Erie, Pa.). While she was at Gannon the Golden Knights set several Division II records – including most wins in a season (finishing 37-1), and achieved a NCAA Final Four berth for the first time in school history.  In her four years of being an assistant coach at the collegiate level, she has developed two All-Americans, 10 all-conference selections, saw six of her players reach the 1,000 point barrier and helped guide programs that totaled 129 wins and 37 losses. Lodge served as an assistant girls' basketball coach at Evergreen High School in Lyons, Ohio during the 2007-08 season. Lodge started her coaching career as an assistant coach and player with the Hogsbo Basket Club in Sweden. At Campbell, Lodge was named to the Atlantic Sun's All-Freshman Team in 2002-03 and played in 109 games with 82 starts. She earned a place on the A-Sun's All-Academic Team in both the 2004 and 2005 season. She ended her career with 770 points, 463 rebounds, 77 assists and 69 steals. A native of Port Moody, British Columbia, Lodge graduated from Campbell with a bachelor's degree in exercise sport science in 2006 and also holds a master's degree in higher education administration and leadership.

"While I was in college I was unsure what direction I wanted to go for my career, but after I graduated from Campbell I decided to join the coaching ranks", Lodge stated. "I think Coach Watkins and her staff run a great program at Campbell. The program has a lot of tradition and with me being from British Columbia and so far away from home the team really became like a second family to me and that is something that I really loved and have tried to take with me at every school that I have been at. Once I joined the coaching profession I decided that my ultimate goal would be to become a head coach and have my own program and team. What really influenced me or was a huge part of my decision to accept the head coaching position here at Franklin was the great family atmosphere of the school. My parents tell me that every time I talk about Franklin that it reminds them of the way I used to talk about Buies Creek when I was at Campbell. It is that same small, close-nit atmosphere. Everyone is helpful and wants to be involved. I also love the location of the campus. It is in the perfect location not too far or close to a major city. Franklin is definitely somewhere where I can see myself staying for a while and raising a family."

Former Campbell player and assistant coach Janice Brim, formerly Janice Washington, recently accepted the head coaching position at Lackawanna College (Scranton, Pa.) in July of 2012 after working for the government and traveling the world for a few years following her departure from Campbell following the 2007-08 season. In the time since she left Campbell among her many accomplishment were getting married to SSG Eric L. Brim, coaching an 16U AAU team in Italy and most recently working for the U.S. Army as the Advertisement and Commercial Sponsorship Coordinator in Washington, D.C. Brim, who still ranks third in school history with 256 steals, guided the Lady Camels to the Atlantic Sun title and an NCAA appearance in 2000. Playing point guard, the Slidell, La. native helped Campbell to its second consecutive A-Sun Championship Game appearance in 2001. She was named to the 1997 A-Sun All-Freshman Team averaging 8.8 points and led the league with 5.5 assists per game. She was also named Second Team All-Atlantic Sun in 2001 after averaging 9.8 points and 4.8 assists for the season. She received her MBA from Campbell in 2004 and earned her B.B.A.  in trust management from CU in 2001. The four-year starter and letterwinner (1996-01) is currently ranked fourth at Campbell in career assists with her average of 4.8 per contest and still ranks second all-time in games played with 119.

"Since I left Campbell I have tried to find the right opportunity to get back into collegiate coaching," Brim explained. "I would frequently check the job boards/athletic websites in whatever area of the country I was living in at that point looking for the right job. A few months ago I saw the job at Lackawanna and I thought to myself about how well I knew that area and how much time I had spent there every July recruiting at the Blue Chip Tournament in Harrisburg, Pa.  So I applied for the job and when I interviewed at the school I found that it reminded me a lot of Campbell. The facility is obviously impressive and much larger (holds 6,500 people) than what I played in and coached in at Carter Gym (capacity 947 people), but once I got over the size of the facility and started talking with Kim Mecca (Lackawanna's Athletic Director) I realized that Lackawanna is very family oriented and a relative small school just like Campbell."

"Coach Watkins is the only collegiate head coach that I ever played for or worked for and every time I talk to her I thank her for all the she taught me during my 10 years (four as a player and six as an assistant coach) with her," Brim explained. "I have always felt like I had a good sense on the basketball floor - "basketball 101" is what I have always called it - but in terms of the other side of being a coach and being able to be patient and compassionate to what student-athletes are going through is what Coach Watkins really helped me get a better feeling for. She cares so much about her players, not only what they do on the court, but how they are conducting themselves in society. She always wanted to be sure that her teams were doing the right thing and generally giving back to society through different projects and community service areas. Her motto was to do the right thing even if nobody was watching you and I think from an overall standpoint all of the players that have been a part of her program would say the same thing about her. There is such a legacy of caring within the women's basketball program at Campbell. At the end of the day my school color are now blue & grey, but I still bleed orange & black. I think Coach Watkins runs the ideal women's basketball program to emulate. She has set such a model for all of us that played for her and are now coaching. She has a great passion for women's basketball and instilled it in everyone that played for her."

"It is really exciting over the course of the last month getting all the phone calls from my former players to share their great news with me," Coach Watkins explained. "It has been a great summer for Campbell women's basketball former players and landing jobs in the profession. I am just so proud of all of them. As they call me you can just feel them bubbling with excitement and the passion that we share for the game. I get choked up talking about how great and fun it is going to be to see them continue to develop as coaches at each of their schools. They all carry that same passion and because of that I think they will all excel in a great way."