Published: Jul 17, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Jul 15, 2012 04:22 PM
Monique Fearrington never thought she’d be patrolling the sidelines on a basketball court again.
After graduating from N.C. Central in 2001, the former Eagles basketball player had visions of starting her own company and working with kids in some capacity.
She doesn’t have her own company yet, but she is helping plenty of youth at Lakeview at Red Mill, a therapeutic learning center on Chewning Middle School’s campus that assists students with mental disorders.
Fearrington’s love of children eventually parlayed onto the coaching side – first in AAU, then as an assistant at Chewning and most recently at Southern High. She will replace former girls varsity coach Kendrick Hall, who moved over to the boys side.
“Once I graduated from NCCU, I didn’t think I would be coaching,” said Fearrington, who was also Chewning’s head softball and volleyball coach. “But God works in mysterious ways. I love working with kids, and I just put two and two together, because working with kids – coaching – it’s all the same.”
Fearrington will be taking over a program that advanced to the high school state playoffs but has lost 10 seniors. Southern is her first head coaching basketball job but she’s not daunted, and neither is Athletics Director Avery Bryant, who knows what it’s like to be given that first big opportunity.
“Her presence, her deliverance of what she said at the interview, pretty much got her the job,” said Bryant, 27, who is in his first full year as AD.
“She hasn’t been a head high school coach, but she knows the game,” he said. “I came out of college and got offered a head baseball coaching position in high school, so everyone is entitled to have their opportunity.”
Fearrington was a star athlete at Chapel Hill High before earning a scholarship to NCCU. She played in 72 games during her three-year career and averaged 8.6 points and 6.1 rebounds a game.
Despite her still young age of 35, Fearrington said the athletes have changed since her high school days.
“Back then, I think kids had more passion and were willing to work hard,” she said. “I remember playing on my own. I would go outside and shoot and be all by myself and it was fine, but now you have to really stay on girls in order for them to work hard. They have so many distractions, and you really have to want it.”
Fearrington’s hire makes it a clean sweep for Chewning. Hall, who came from there two years ago, recently hired the middle school’s head boys basketball coach and an assistant for his staff.
But all eyes will be on the girls side, which will have a five-female coaching staff – rare indeed in most parts of the state. Joining Fearrington will be assistant coach Nicole Pearson-Hall, junior varsity coach Stacey Jenkins-Kahn, and volunteer coaches Celia Webb and LaChanda Black.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“Several people have asked me about it,” Bryant said. “I leave it up to (the coaches) to hire their assistants. As long as the kids are coached well, and there is no drama going on, I’m fine with it.”