Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro new girls basketball coach Lamar Harris.
Back in 2008, Lamar Harris applied for the Jonesboro girls head coaching position, only to see the job go to Jimmy Fields.
Harris watched from afar as the Lady Cardinals reached the Class AAAA semifinals that season with a 30-2 record. Fields would leave the next season for an administrative job in Twiggs County.
The last three seasons, Michael House has guided the Lady Cardinals program. Last season was a breakout year as Jonesboro returned to the semifinals. After House’s contract wasn’t renewed, Jonesboro found itself looking for another coach.
Harris applied again, and this time he got the job.
The last three seasons, Harris helped build Drew into a region contender.
“It was really tough leaving that program,” he said. “I’ve been emotionally attached to the program, and we had a good group coming up.”
But the opportunity to become a head coach again won out. He was head coach at Avondale High in DeKalb County two years prior to it finally closing.
Harris said he is looking forward to working with an established program like Jonesboro, which returns three starters from a team that reached the Class AAAA semifinals last season.
“It was tough at Avondale because we knew we were closing in two years,” Harris said. “My goal was to leave coaching and move into administration, but I had a desire to coach again and never left the game.”
Since he got the job two weeks ago, Harris didn’t have any time to work with the team during the summer months. Jonesboro assistant coach John Bishop worked with the team during camps and summer league.
With a veteran team, Harris doesn’t anticipant changing much with the team.
“Summer is very important in basketball,” Harris said. “We are just going to have to hit the ground running. I can only coach my style. There is only so much you can do in basketball. Everyone has a motion offense. I’m looking to improve the defensive side.”
The core of the team returns with guard-forward Briana Benson, point guard Victoria Florence and center Kimberly Dawkins. During the course of last season, there were eight returning players that started at some point.
Jonesboro also has Forest Park transfer Raven Wynn.
“I’m familiar with the team,” Harris said. “I have an idea of who can do what. My job is to make sure they are ready and understand what we are trying to accomplish.”