NP Basketball coaches

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 20, 2012

North Panola principal Jamone Edwards (far right) announced the promotions of basketball coaches. Chris Yancy (left) is the new boys head coach and Daphne Thomas was promoted from assistant girls coach to the head girls coach. The Panolian photo by Myra Bean

Yancy and Thomas tapped to take over NP basketball

By Myra Bean
Tuesday morning, North Panola principal Jamone Edwards and athletic director Krystal Stewart introduced a new coaching staff at North Panola High School.

Derek King was approved as the new head football coach under conservatorship Monday night at the school board meeting.

In other coaching moves, Chris Yancy has been moved from head girls basketball coach to head boys basketball coach. Yancy’s assistant from last year, Daphne Thomas, has been promoted to head the girls basketball program.

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“When I took the job, I came from a sports background,” Edwards said. “I love sports and I think athletics has the potential to have a huge impact on student achievement. I promised Mr. (Robert) King, the community and the students that what I do would be in their best interest. I feel like the people at this table have their best interest at heart. I am appreciative of the coaches who have gone before them. They did a good job. With these coaches, we are going to pick it up and take it to another level.”

Coaching changes have almost become the norm at North Panola, but Edwards and Stewart have plans to put  some stability and security in place and stop the bleed.

“I was asked that when I was offered the job and I said I was committed to staying here and cutting down on turnover,” Edwards said. “One of my goals here is to put a Star Performing sign out. What Miss Stewart and I try to do is identify the greatest stability. Coach Yancy is the mainstay of this program. We feel like this is a great opportunity for him. At the same time Coach Thomas has become a mainstay.”

After watching these change overs occur, Edwards is satisfied that these changes will give the North Panola students a chance to succeed.

One of the main plans for the basketball program is to get the players to summer camp. Yancy and Thomas have already petitioned the Mississippi High School Activities Association for 50 minutes per day of conditioning work, not working on basketball plays, according to Edwards.

Some fund raisers have been started to help students attend the camps.

“We are going to put our money where our mouth is. For basketball we are going to try to purchase new practice gear. Coach Yancy wants a new shooting machine that costs too much money,” Edwards said with a big laugh. “We are going to spend money but it’s on the kids. We are here for the kids.”

If Edwards had any doubt about his decisions, he said they were dispelled the day after he told Yancy he would be the head coach.

“I was in the hallway and he was going to classrooms, checking on those boys’ gpa, finding out what they need. They are staying over for tutoring and coming to Saturday school. When I saw him put focus on academics, I knew,” Edwards said.

“With Coach Thomas that was one of the first things she talked about was grades,” Edwards added.

Thomas said she was excited about the challenge and wants to see the girls sign scholarships with college and they have to have the grades to do that.

“Coach Yancy has already established a great program,” she said. “It is just picking up and continuing where he left off. I don’t have as much of a challenge as he has but I am looking forward to it and working with the young ladies.

Some of Thomas’ focus this year are to improve defense and teach a little bit more of the fundamentals so the girls will have a foundation to build from that. She is expecting six seniors on next year’s team and around eight freshmen.

 “We are looking for the seniors to mentor the younger ones, so we don’t have such a gap in winning,” she said.

A couple of weeks ago, Stewart met with the students and asked them what they are. “They said student-athletes,” Edwards said.

“They are students first,” Edwards said. “It is something when the athletic director puts focus on academics. Academics is all I care about. I love sports but my main focus is academics. That really encourages me. We want the support of the community, the county. We are going to build a sports program here.”

Edwards, a 2004 South Panola graduate, is finishing his first year as principal of North Panola High.