Anyone who plays sports knows that it is about so much more than the score, the stats, or the record. The people you meet and work with are the best part of the experience and Mary Baldwin University alumna Crystal Lewis is one of the best.
Lewis received the Best Defensive Player award during the 2011–12 season and was also a USA South All-Academic team member. She is now the assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach at Nottoway High School in Crewe.
She led her JV team to a 17–1 record and won the district championship. The varsity team won both the district and regional championships.
“This is my second year coaching junior varsity basketball and I have gained a tremendous amount of experience in this position,” Lewis said. “I have been able to combine two things that I absolutely love: working with youth and assisting them in the game that I love so much. I have had the pleasure of providing a positive impact and emphasizing the importance of patience.
“Coaching a basketball team is fun, entertaining, and amusing all rolled in to one. Any time that you are doing something you enjoy, you never have to actually work. So although coaching is classified as a job, to me, it is more of a passion. I am having fun doing something I truly love. Secondly, it is entertaining. I not only enjoy coaching the game, but I also enjoy watching my girls play. It reminds me so much of myself playing at the high school level. Thirdly, it amuses me every time that I can follow a player from the high school level to the collegiate level. It makes my heart smile to know that they are not only a product of Nottoway High School, but also a product of my coaching abilities.
Lewis also shared this advice: “Do what you love to do so that you never have to work a day in your life. Always take opportunities with an open heart. You never know where you could end up. In my case, I ended up doing something I absolutely love. I could not see myself doing anything else at this point in my life. I thoroughly enjoy coaching basketball. Also, it is important to always strive to be the best that you can be. Whatever it is that you find yourself doing, make sure you do it to the best of your ability with heart, happiness, and love.”
Great coaches bring out the best in their student-athletes and Lewis clearly brings out the best in her players both on and off of the court.
The proud Fighting Squirrel added, “What I have gained from Mary Baldwin is that hard work and dedication is the path to success. Also having that foundation of growth as a person from the communication, motivation, and leadership support from the coaching staff at this prestigious institution helped me become the caring, passionate changemaker I am today.”
– reporting by Lynda Alanko, interim director of wellness and athletics