Campbell takes over Lady Warriors

Published 9:58 am Saturday, June 19, 2010

MERRY HILL – There’s a fresh face and a fresh excitement for the Lady Warriors.

Thursday morning, Lawrence Academy Athletic Director Robert Kravitz announced the appointment of Michelle Campbell as the new varsity girl’s basketball coach. Campbell succeeds Jack Williford who retired at the end of last season.

“I’m excited to have Michelle become part of the coaching staff,” Kravitz said. “She will lead us in the right direction. I think she brings youth and excitement to the program and that is something we need with the youth movement we’re going through.

“While I’m excited about the future, I’m also extremely appreciative of the past,” Kravitz added. “Jack Williford did an excellent job for us in the past three years. I feel very blessed to have worked with him.”

Campbell comes to Lawrence after a year as an assistant coach at North Johnston High School in Kenly. During the year, she worked for David Bagwell, a veteran prep coach who led the Lady Panthers when Campbell played there.

“I learned a lot last year,” Campbell said. “I was driving there every week to get into coaching.”

Campbell, who played the post positions in her prep career, spent most of her time last season working with guards so she could learn more about the game.

“I told Coach Bagwell I wanted to get into coaching,” she said. “He let me work with the guards because I knew you have to be able to coach the whole floor.”

The new Lady Warrior skipper said the entire experience was a good one.

“I learned a lot coaching last year,” she said. “I learned to make practice schedules and how to make practice more beneficial.”

Last season also prepared her for the undertaking at Lawrence where the Lady Warriors expect to be a very young and inexperienced team with all but one player graduating last year.

“There were lots of freshman on the team so I think that prepared me for the young team here,” she said.

Campbell will coach both the varsity and junior varsity teams at Lawrence and said she will practice the two units together.

“I’m glad to be coaching both teams,” she said. “I think it’s better for them to learn from the beginning how I do things and what I expect. If you provide consistency all the way through, it will be beneficial as they get older.”

Campbell played four years on the varsity team at North Johnston and helped lead her team to the regionals all four seasons. She stepped away from basketball when she headed to college at UNC – Wilmington, but was eager to get back into the game.

She said the two years at UNC-W she played pickup games and then married and moved to Southeastern College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

After having her son, Noah, three years ago, Campbell stopped playing basketball as regularly and said she was missing it. That led her to getting into coaching last year.

While being an assistant at North Johnston, Campbell was serving as a substitute teacher at Lawrence.

When a vacancy occurred in the English Department, she applied and was hired to teacher English to juniors at Lawrence. She was then hired to coach basketball upon Williford’s retirement.

As she looks to the future of the Lady Warriors, Campbell said she knew what she wanted from her team.

“I want to run a man-defense if we’re ready,” she said. “If we’re not, we’ll work towards that. Offensively, I need to work with our players and find out their strengths before I make a firm decision.”

The new coach has already begun work by getting game film which she plans to review to learn more about the past. She also plans to begin individual workouts in the near future.

She said the things she most looked forward to is working with the young ladies.

“I think being with the girls is what I’m most excited about,” she said. “I look forward to the atmosphere at practice and the games – just the excitement of basketball.”

Campbell is married to the Rev. Jimmy Campbell, the Minister of Youth, Children and Education at Cashie Baptist Church in Windsor. The couple has one child, Noah.