Gators welcome two new coaches
By David Williams
Published in Sports on August 4, 2004 1:55 PM
SEVEN SPRINGS -- Two new coaches at Spring Creek High School are expecting to provide stability for the Gator girls' athletic programs. They will be getting to work right away.
One of the coaches will be taking her first turn at coaching varsity high school sports, while the other is a veteran coach with Wayne County ties.
Amanda Ramfjord is the new girls basketball coach, while Deanna Morris returns to Wayne County to coach the Gators in volleyball and girls track. The duo will take over the duties of Cassandra Tyson, who is not at the school this year.
Ramfjord, a 2000 graduate of Tennessee Wesleyan College, is coaching high school varsity for the first time after spending three years as assistant women's basketball coach for Mount Olive College. Ramfjord was a player at Tennessee Wesleyan, and she said her combined experience as a player and a coach at the college level will serve her well as she takes over.
The Gators claimed their first-ever playoff berth last season. Ramfjord said her players can expect hard work from her, and she will expect as much from them.
"I'm going to come in with 110 percent, and I expect them to come in with 110 percent," she said. "We're going to do this together, and we're going to try and make the playoffs."
Ramfjord wants her Gators to play the type of game she played in her day -- one that is always moving.
"I'd like to try and have a running type of team -- fast break, man-to-man defense," she said. "That's what I'm used to from the college level. I'll have to break it down some for high school players, but that's what I played in high school and college. I'll probably bring some zone into it, but not 2-3. I think kids get lazy in a 2-3 ... a 1-3-1 has more movement."
Morris will begin her season as Gator head coach immediately, with a volleyball tryout all this week.
A 1988 graduate of Pembroke State University who returned to get her teaching credentials in 1992, Morris comes to the school after nearly ten years as a middle and high school coach in Wayne County.
Morris -- who then was Deannna Oxendine -- coached at Goldsboro High School and Goldsboro Middle School starting in 1993. She coached soccer, indoor track, cross country, girls track and softball before moving on to Purnell Swett High School as a JV girls basketball and track coach. Morris was also at Greenwood Middle School as a softball and volleyball coach, and was most recently teaching in Dixon County, Tennessee before returning to Wayne County.
"I am excited about getting this program off the ground at Spring Creek," Morris said. "They have had three coaches in the last three years, and it's hard to get anything built like that."
Morris, who said she expects enough players to field a JV volleyball team, said the main challenge will be teaching the girls how to play.
"A few of the girls have a few of the skills -- some of them played in middle school -- but we have to teach them how to play the game completely -- offense, defense," she said. "We need to show them how to play their positions."
Morris noted that the skills used in volleyball are unique to the sport, with a few exceptions.
"Tennis is similar in the serving," she said. "The scoring is different, the skills are different -- it's the only sport that you use your forearms for."
Both Ramfjord and Morris want to develop summer programs and camps at Spring Creek to help the younger players grow in their skills and abilities.
"A lot of the kids are in different sports," said Ramfjord. " I have to check the rules and see what kinds of individual workouts I can have before the season. We'll have workouts after basketball. I would have liked to have started doing weights, but with the kids pretty much playing all seasons, we can't do that."
Both new coaches are enjoying their place at Spring Creek. Ramfjord works at North Drive School, but said she feels right at home in Seven Springs.
"I've met all the coaches from me working at the golf course (Sleepy Creek)," she said. "Steve Clingan is the principal, and I have close ties with him because I worked with his dad at Mount Olive College.
"I'm excited, and I've been accepted well. They brought me in, and I never felt any tension from anyone."
Morris said she, too, has been welcomed into the Gator family. When here before, she used to run the Wayne County physical fitness championship program with former county athletics director Dave Thomas.
"I've spoken to him, and we may get that going again," she said.
Both coaches want their prospective players to know what to expect from them.
"You are going to have to have a team that gets along," said Ramfjord. "You have to have players that will listen to their coach, and I think I can get that respect because of my background. When players don't get along with other people, that shows on the court. I want to know my team is together, and they stay together no matter what."
"I'm not going to be negative," said Morris. "They can expect hard work -- anything worth having is worth working for."
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