Volunteer coach to take local basketball team to nationals

  • Published
  • By Faye Banks
He's not your average volunteer coach. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even have a son on the team. But that doesn't keep Roosevelt Harrison from getting the best out of "his boys," who will be playing at the 2007 Division II Amateur Athletic Union national competition next month in Arkansas.

His team, the Warner Robins Express Boys 16 and under team, will travel to Little Rock, Ark., to participate in the tourney July 8-13.

Harrison, an inventory management specialist in the

330th Aircraft Sustainment Wing, said he is often asked why he coaches a team that he doesn't have a child on.

His answer is simple: "They are all mine," he said. "During my long years of being around basketball, I have learned a lot of stuff about basketball, and I want to pass it on to any kid who wants to learn."

"I feel that I'm more of a basketball teacher than a basketball coach," said Harrison, who played high school basketball and on the Marine Corps varsity basketball team, later receiving a scholarship to Coahoma Community College.

Harrison has been with this team the past three years. He stresses good grades to his players whose team grade point average is 3.0. But Harrison admits learning is a two-way street because he learns from their triumphs and disappointments.

"I am very proud of my guys," he said. "This is their first time qualifying. They are very excited. I have really enjoyed each moment with them. Whether we have just won a tournament championship or we are at our lowest moment at practice, my boys are very memorable."

No stranger to coaching, Harrison has coached boys and girls teams since 1992, when he started coaching his 6-year-old daughter in the Warner Robins Recreation Department. He coached the Warner Robins Lady Express from 1999 to 2003, qualifying for nationals four consecutive years. That team even finished up as runner-up at the nationals in 2003.

The coach is very excited about this team going to the national competition but added that they need help getting there. "The trip is very expensive and we have to raise about $6,500 to attend," he said.

This year's team includes from Houston County High: Enrico Anderson II, Vincent Stewart II, Brandon Davey, Jarrid Nunn, Brandon Scott, Dante Williams, Davon Williams, Craig Pressley, Roger Stanton, Geo Stotts, and Brandon King; from Northside High: Kenny Morton, Kenyatta Ward, Allen Davis and Alvin Howard; and from Perry High Jared Fluellen.

Harrison's coaching staff includes John Bailey of Warner Robins and Jared Fluellen of Perry. Team mom is Maj. Zina Crump, 78th Air Base Wing Clinic; and team manager is Vincent Stewart, 579th Combat Sustainment Squadron.

For information on how to help the team contact Harrison at 396-3876.