Newly-named Vidalia Lady Viking head girls basketball coach Tema Larry marches to her own beat.
But that’s actually a good thing, considering Larry is a music major graduate of Alcorn State University and a former choir teacher for the Natchez-Adams School District.
Larryalso serves as the praise and worship leader at her church, Word of Faith AWC, in Natchez.
Larry accepted the head girls coaching position after accepting a job as English I teacher at Vidalia High.
Larry, who graduated from Natchez High in 1995 before graduating from Alcorn State, did not play high school basketball.
“This all came to me later in life,” Larry said. “I have a family of coaches.”
Larry is the niece of former Ferriday High boys basketball coach Robert Cade.
Larry replaces Sue Ann Easterling, who is now living in Washington state.
“Coach Damus Smith asked me if I would take the girls head coaching job,” Larry said. “I did not accept it, but he kept introducing me as the new girls head coach. I was joking about that with my freshmen, and they were excited about me taking the job. So I decided I can do this.”
Larry was about to change her mind when she was seeking odd jobs after school.
“I had told my girls that, and they were really upset,” Larry said. “My freshmen told me they felt sorry for the seniors who would not have a coach. So after a lot of prayer I decided I wasn’t going to chase paper, but purpose. And the people of Vidalia are so supportive of their kids.”
Larry takes over a Lady Viking team that reached the playoffs for the first time since 2001 last year.
Vidalia’ fell to No. 2 and then-defending state champion North Caddo 95-18 in Vivian.
The Lady Vikings finished 6-19 last season, earning at No. 30 power ranking.
Senior Jamya Smith returns after leading the Lady Vikings in scoring.
Larry has named Smith and freshman Nyla Poole as her captains.
“We have a strong group all around,” Poole said. “The thing I love the most is they are very humble. We have a great repoire with each other. I know we can turn things around with the group of girls.”
Former Lady Viking Wendy Paul will assist Larry.