By Laura Camper / firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the new faces in the Northgate High School sports program is from nearby East Coweta High School.
Girls basketball Coach Alicia Sands, 33, spent her first four years in education teaching financial literacy and for three of the four years, assisting the girls basketball coach at ECHS.
In August, she will teach business communication and business technology at Northgate. She already began working with the girls basketball team in mid-May, Sands said.
“It’s a great group of girls,” she said. “They’re hungry. They want to learn; they want to grow. So the progress has exceeded my expectations to say the least.”
Sands hails from Troup County, Georgia, where she played basketball in high school and then college, she said.
“I played college ball at the University of West Georgia under Coach Scott Groninger,” Sands said. “I was his point guard.”
She went on to Clark Atlanta University to earn her master’s degree in Business Administration. There she worked as graduate assistant-assistant basketball coach.
“I also helped with recruiting,” Sands said.
She started her career in corporate America but then started working her first job in education at Gardner Newman Middle School in LaGrange as a paraprofessional.
“I wanted to test the waters to see if I liked it,” Sands said with a laugh.
Five years later, she hasn’t looked back, Sands said.
She’s excited to start the year at Northgate and thinks she came in at a good time. Because of redistricting, everything is new, Sands said.
“A new coaching staff, a new group of girls,” she said. “It just aligned perfectly.”
She will bring her experience both from coaching and playing to the girls, Sands said. But she’s also learning, she added.
“I’m young; I’m learning along the way,” she said. “I talk with other head coaches and get their ideas on things. I throw my ideas off them, and we just kind of bounce ideas off each other.”
Sands likes to lead by example and she intends to teach the girls more than just basketball.
“I talk to my girls about the importance of family, about sisterhood, the importance of perseverance, just always trying to do the right thing,” Sands said. “I’m just trying to teach them how to be young ladies.”