A calling from God

Published 12:01 am Saturday, July 21, 2012

SaRhonda Dickerson will take over as Opp High School’s girls basketball coach this year. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Coaching is truly a calling for new Opp High School girls basketball coach SaRhonda Dickerson.

Dickerson, a Greenville native, played high school basketball and softball before going to Southern Union State Community College after graduation.

She won a junior college championship in women’s basketball during the 2001-02 season.

It’s safe to say that athletics have been a part of Dickerson’s life from the beginning.

“Honestly, I’ve been in athletics my entire life,” she said. “The funny thing is that when I got to (physical therapy) school, I could never get in it.

“I always heard God tell me to go into coaching,” she said. “I actually became obedient and followed God’s plan for me, and as soon as I did, the doors opened left and right.”

Dickerson’s new calling led her to coach for one year at Hoover High School in Birmingham for the freshman girls basketball team, and then two years at Bottenfield Middle School as a head coach. While coaching at Bottenfield, she was also an assistant coach at Minor High School.

Dickerson said her attraction to work in Opp was influenced by her mother, Vanessa Hawkins McGhee, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“I moved back home to Greenville in May, and I started to apply for jobs close in the area,” she said. “My husband (and OHS assistant football coach Brian Dickerson) is in Opp as well.”

McGhee passed away in June and since then, Dickerson said she’s had three immediate family members die in the past 30 days.

As of Friday, Dickerson said she hasn’t met with her future players. In fact, she’s holding a parent-player meeting today to get to know each one of them and let them know her expectations for the program.

“My only expecation is to have a grood group of girls that come out and work hard and show a lot of heart,” she said. “I’m all about heart and athleticism. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have in those girls. I plan on using my style in them, and building a program off of character and discipline.”

Dickerson will be teaching physical education at Opp Middle School, while coaching the girls basketball team. She was hired in June.

“I just want to build a program, also at the middle school as well that’ll carry over in the high school program,” she said.

When asked what her coaching philosophy is, Dickerson said it varies with each team she helms.

“As far as playing and my type of style of play, I adjust to my team,” Dickerson said. “Whatever my team has, I want to basically build those fundamentals and carry the girls on to the next level, which ever that may be for success.”

Dickerson has two children, a 6-year-old son, B.J., and a 5-year-old daughter, Sariyah.