July 12, 2014 10:45:47 PM
Educators surrounded Jasmine Boyd when she was growing up, so it's easy to see why she decided to become a teacher.
But after developing a love for teaching from her father, John, and an uncle and an aunt who also were in the same profession, Boyd discovered another love. She hopes to put her love for teaching and her second love for the game of basketball to good use in Lowndes County.
On Friday, the Lowndes County School Board approved Boyd to become the new girls basketball coach at West Lowndes High School. Boyd replaces Anthony King, who will remain at West Lowndes High as its football coach.
"I think I definitely have a good blueprint to follow," said Boyd, who spent the past three years as an assistant girls basketball coach at Noxubee County High. She also worked as the head junior high school girls basketball coach. "Throughout the process, I have been in different geographic areas but I have come up in the footsteps (of other family members) and have come up with a few of my own along the way."
Boyd will teach senior English at West Lowndes High. Even though she didn't play for her father, who was a basketball coach at Proviso East High in Maywood, Illinois, she learned plenty of things from him, particularly how to have high expectations, to be disciplined, and to establish fundamentals in a program. She also credited Diana Thomas, her girls basketball coach at Proviso West High, for being an "excellent mentor" she still leans on for support and for advice.
At West Lowndes High, Boyd hopes she can bring stability to a program that has had a number of coaches in the past five to 10 years. Few of the coaches have stayed in the position for more than a few years, but Boyd wants to change that. She plans to do her best to follow the school motto "Greatness in Progress" in the classroom and on the basketball court.
"I am going to stay sound in my beliefs and in my program style," Boyd said. "I believe in discipline before instruction. If you build a program, I believe on focusing on teaching the fundamentals of basketball, which is what I am to do.
"I think the transition (from assistant coach to head varsity coach) will be raising the standards and trying to perfect the skills that are already there. For those who haven't gotten the fundamentals down, we will clean those up. My goal is to see a fundamentally sound program being executed each night."
Boyd said she played forward and center in high school. She said she will be active at practices and participate in the team's drills with her players so she can better show the Lady Panthers the things she learned from her coaches and teammates. That learning process started when she was 10 years old. By then, she said she already had discovered her love for teaching. The success she had in youth basketball and in the sport at the high school level helped stoke her passion for the game. Her goal now is to be a positive role model who can inspire the next group of girls basketball players that come through West Lowndes High.
"I truly understand the impact athletics can have on students' lives," Boyd said. "I really am hands on with the players. I want to help them learn about the untapped talent they may not know they have. ... I want to push them and be hands on and encourage them in their lives and throughout their basketball experience. I believe in taking an interest in the student-athlete as a whole and not neglecting one for the other.
"I look forward to a prominent season with a group of hard-working ladies as we continue to fulfill the motto of 'Greatness in Progress.' "
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.