Lamar Hendricks knew his first varsity-head coaching job was going to be something special.
But having it come as at his alma mater, Pisgah, makes the dream extra sweet.
“I’ve wanted to be a head coach for a longtime,” Hendricks said. “For it to be here, it’s a blessing. One of my co-workers at Fort Payne texted me that ‘momma had called.’ Glad to be back.”
Hendricks graduated from Pisgah in 1986 and was a standout basketball player for the Eagles, earning an honorable mention all-state nod his senior season.
Hendricks taught at Three Springs School for eight years before leaving education to work with his father in a family business. After 15 years, he decided to return to education, teaching and coaching at Pisgah during the 2015-16 school year before working the past three years at Fort Payne, where he was an assistant coach for Glen Hicks for two seasons and Michael Banks for one. He also coached the freshman boys team for two seasons and the junior varsity boys last season.
Hendricks replaces another Pisgah alum, Woody Beard, who resigned earlier this spring after 23 seasons as Pisgah’s head coach.
Hendricks said the Eagles will play the style that Hicks’ teams played at Fort Payne and throughout his coaching career at North Sand Mountain and Dade County (Ga.).
“I studied under Glen for a while, and that fast-paced way is definitely the best,” Hendricks said. “The kids love it, it’s exciting, people love to watch it. We’re going to get up and down the floor, press, play hard-nosed man-to-man defense. And we’re going to get up a lot of shots.”
The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has prevented Hendricks from meeting with his new team. But the introductions won’t be needed between he and many Pisgah players.
“The seniors and juniors, I’ve coached a lot of them in rec league, and most of them are like my own kids,” Henricks said, adding that being unable to start working with his team has been frustrating. “Hopefully we’ll get to come together soon and start putting this thing together. The good thing is, everyone is in the same boat. We might be a little behind (because of the coaching change), but with hard work, we’ll get to where we need to be.”
Hendricks isn’t the only one that will experience a homecoming. His son Jacob, a rising junior, will be transferring to Pisgah to play for his father after playing last season for the Fort Payne varsity boys.
“Jacob, he played with some of these guys from the time he was in second or third grade and he was here in seventh grade,” Lamar Hendricks said.
Hendricks and wife Christina have two children, Jacob and daughter Jesse, who graduated from Fort Payne High School Thursday night.
“Fort Payne was a Godsend for our family,” Hendricks said. “Now He’s sent us back home. We’re glad to be back.”