Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on thine own understanding.
In all they ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Erin Perry has seen her favorite Bible verses unfolding before her eyes. Over the past three years, she has gone from being a stay-at-home mom to a head varsity basketball coach.
Promoting from within, defending Division V girls state champion Claiborne Christian hired Perry to fill its head coaching vacancy earlier this week.
Perry coached her sons youth baseball and basketball teams, but coaching at the high school level wasn’t on her radar.
Her husband, Ryan, is an evangelist. When his job brought the family from Leesville to West Monroe, the couple enrolled their two sons in Northeast Baptist.
“We came here about 3 1/2 years ago. We had no family, no anything here,” Erin Perry said. “Our kids have always gone to Christian schools.”
A pickup basketball game at Northeast Baptist opened the door for Perry to enter the work force.
“I had never worked full-time since we’ve been married,” Perry said.
Perry never interviewed for her first coaching job. After playing in a parents vs. kids game at a party for the Northeast Baptist basketball team, she was offered a job on the spot.
“The head coach, Dell Gregory, came up to me after the game and asked me, ‘Have you ever thought about coaching?’” Perry recalled.
Perry spent the following season as an assistant at Northeast Baptist, but thought it was one and done after moving her sons to Claiborne Christian the following year. Her plans quickly changed.
“Coach Lee Morrow asked if I would be interested in helping him the next year, and introduced me to Chad Olinde, our athletic director,” said Perry, who is also the school’s elementary physical education teacher. “I told them I would be ‘extremely willing.’ I think they were looking for a female to help with the girls team. I’m pretty sure that’s how I got my start at Claiborne Christian.”
Perry’s stint as an assistant with the Lady Crusaders lasted only one year as Morrow was recently hired at St. Frederick. But, what a glorious year it was as CCS won the first state championship in program history.
“It was a great season,” Perry said. “I have some big shoes to fill as a coach, and we have some big shoes to fill on the floor. We all know this is going to be a year of learning and rebuilding.”
Following the departure of Rayleigh Bennett, Taylor Lilly, Anna Head and Bailey Ishee, Annabell Russell is left as the only remaining starter from the championship team.
“It’s going to be a challenge this year, but one we’re looking forward to,” Perry said. “We pretty much lost our core, but we have some kids who have been part of the program. It’s time for them to grow up and step up. I know we have the potential. I just have to pull it out of them.”
Perry sees her familiarity with the program as an advantage going into the transition process.
“It definitely takes a lot of pressure off me,” Perry said. “I already know the dynamics of the program. Knowing how the kids are going to react to different things is definitely a plus.”
Ryan and Erin Perry are the parents of Devin (15) and Zachary (11), who are entering their sophomore and seventh grade years at CCS.
Erin is a graduate of Northwestern State University where she obtained a degree in general studies with a concentration in social sciences.
A two-sport athlete at Oak Hill High School in Rapides Parish, she helped the Lady Rams to four state championships in softball and earned Academic All-State honors as a senior. Although basketball was her favorite sport in high school, coaching never crossed her mind.
“I am very thankful to the Lord because He is directing my paths and has made this happen for me,” Perry said. “I am extremely grateful.”