E.A. Sports Today

Randall taking girls team

BREAKING: White Plains boys coach will become second in Calhoun County to oversee both of his school’s basketball programs

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Chris Randall has developed the White Plains boys basketball team into one of the best in this part of the state; it’s always a threat to make it to Jacksonville.

Now, he’s being given the chance to do the same thing with the girls team.

In addition to coaching the boys, Randall will be taking over the Wildcats’ girls basketball program next season, school officials confirmed Tuesday.

He takes over for Joi Watts, who was not renewed as the girls basketball coach following this past season but will remain as White Plains’ volleyball coach.

“Just talking to a few people he fits the mold of what we need,” White Plains principal Andy Ward said. “We want to give him a shot and see what happens. He’s done so well with our guys, it’s hard not to give him that chance to try to do the same thing with the girls.

“It is very time-consuming, a very draining thing, but it’s something he feels confident he could do.”

With the move, Randall becomes one of two coaches in Calhoun County who will coach their school’s boys and girls basketball teams. Bryant Ginn does double duty at Ohatchee, although Bradley Dawson (Faith Christian) and Ryan Chambless (Jacksonville) had done both in recent years.

“I don’t know if I’m qualified to give him advice,” Ginn said. “I may need to take notes from him.”

It’s not really new territory for Randall. He coached the girls team for one season several years ago when then-coach Rachel Ford was expecting and no one on staff had coached basketball before. That team had a winning record, but didn’t get out of a difficult area tournament.

“This is more permanent; it’s not temporary or a band-aid,” Randall said.

He suspects the most difficult part about doing the double duty, as it was then, wasn’t the practices, but game nights.

“You’re not with the guys pre-game or the girls post-game,” he said. “The boys have to be mature enough to get themselves ready and the girls, if it’s a tough loss, you’ve gotta go. For me, that was the toughest part.”

Randall is confident “we can make it happen” because of the two assistants he has on each sides – Matt Ford (girls) and John Bryan O’Connor (boys).

“Is it going to be hard? Yes, it’ll have its challenges, but it’s been done before,” he said. “We think we can make some good things happen on both sides.”

His record with the White Plains boys team is certainly impressive. Just completing his 16th season with the Wildcats, he is closing on 350 wins at the school with six area championships, eight regional appearances, three regional finals and one Final Four.

Randall also is in the midst of his first season as the White Plains boys and girls golf teams. The girls, the two-time reigning state champion, qualified Monday to return to the state tournament next week at Auburn.

The coaching part is the same regardless of sport or gender.

“The whole thing about coaching is there are three ways you can handle players,” he said. “You can pat them on the shoulder, kick them in the butt or leave them alone; which one do they need at that particular time. You just don’t blanket coach everybody the same way.

“You coach everybody fair, but they’re all different kids. That’s the fun part of coaching for me, what works with each one.”

In time the boys and girls likely will be going to summer camp together, but with this change coming so late in the planning process this year Randall will continue the tradition of taking the boys to camp at Lee University in Tennessee and schedule play dates with the girls.

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