Perhaps Jamie Lusk was meant to be a basketball coach.
He grew up watching older brother Todd become a standout at Oceana High School and Concord University.
A few years later, he was a good player in his own right as Oceana rolled to the 1994 Class AA state championship.
It also didn’t hurt that three very successful coaches — Oceana’s Jim Hopkins and Larry Mathis, and Concord coach Steve Cox — made a big impression on him.
“I love the game. I enjoy the competitiveness of it,” Lusk said. “I knew I could stay around it by being a coach.”
He’s not just stayed around the game, he’s excelled in it in eight seasons at the helm of Westside High School’s girls basketball team.
Lusk has averaged 19.6 wins a season, and last month the Lady Renegades won their second Class AA title in the past three years.
Today he is the 2014 girls basketball Coach of the Year as voted by The Register-Herald’s sports staff.
He won the balloting over Greenbrier East’s Jim Justice, Summers County’s Wayne Ryan, PikeView’s Karen Miller and Oak Hill’s Marshall Murray.
Westside (21-3) was far more than just five good starting players. It had a deep bench, much like the 1994 Indians.
“You have to have depth. It’s hard to win a championship with four, five or six players,” Lusk said. “The bench has to play a major role in what you do in the season and in the tournaments.”
Several times during the season, Lady Renegades’ all-state center Hope Lester or point guard Danielle Brown were forced to the bench because of foul trouble.
Yet Westside rolled on, thanks to fine play by its reserves.
Much like their coach, back in the day.
“I knew when I came in the game to give Jason Mathis and Curtis Moran a rest, I was supposed to take charges, rebound and play strong post defense,” Lusk said. “You have to have players who are unselfish and understand the game.
“A lot of times we lost Hope and Danielle, but we were always able to hold the lead or expand it. That’s a compliment to the girls off the bench.”
Some other key points of his coaching style reflect his mentors.
“I liked how Larry Mathis always treated his players well,” Lusk said. “Jim Hopkins was intense in how he prepared for games and practices, and making sure we knew the fundamentals. Coach Cox was such a motivator, and always had the players’ respect.
“Those are some things I’ve tried to put into my own coaching.”
Lusk (157-36) has never had a losing season at Westside. He’s won 20 or more games four times and never won fewer than 13.
He’s guided the Lady Renegades to four state tournaments and the finals the past three seasons.
Next year will be a challenge, as Brown, all-state forward Faith Davis, guard Hope Davis, post Megan Endicott and reserves Kristin Hash, Kenzie Endicott and Lakyn Walker will be lost to graduation.
Lester, one of the finalists for state Player of the Year, returns, as does sparkplug guard Stephanie Davis and a fine JV team.
“I think we’ll still be one of the best teams in the area,” Lusk said. “We’ve got some good, young girls who will mix in with Hope and Stephanie, but it all starts with this summer (practices and leagues).
“It will be an exciting time, teaching them, and it will be fun for Hope and Stephanie to step up and be leaders. They’ll push the other girls and show them what’s needed to be a champion.”
— E-mail: email@example.com
Lady Renegades won 2nd state title in 3 seasons
Perhaps Jamie Lusk was meant to be a basketball coach.
- Latest Sports
Bradshaw or the field?
If a betting window were set up on the Cobb Course at The Resort at Glade Springs for the 81st West Virginia Open Championship, which begins at 8 a.m. this morning, the most popular wager would probably be David Bradshaw against the field.
Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league
Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.
Home sweet home away from home
When Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was handed a copy of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Sunday, his eyes lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on a cold December night.
Miners take series with Paints
The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.
Post 32 rips Parkersburg 19-3 in American Legion tournament
The double play in baseball is said to be a pitcher’s best friend. If that is the case, an 11-run inning by the offense is a very close second.
Former Mountaineer standout Gaddis making career in MLS
Philadelphia Union defender Ray Gaddis may consider Indianapolis his hometown, but make no mistake about it, the Mountain State will always have a place in his heart.
WVU's Fleming signs with Yankees
Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.
WVU to kickoff 2018 season against Tennessee in Charlotte
The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) announced Tuesday morning that it has secured a regular season college football game for the city of Charlotte pitting the University of Tennessee against West Virginia University.
Beamer sees turnaround for Hokies
Virginia Tech head football coach Frank Beamer painted a rosy picture of the Hokies’ prospects during Monday’s Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff press conference in Greensboro, N.C.
Picnic with the Saints
The New Orleans Saints are coming to town, and fans will have the chance to share in the excitement at Picnic with the Saints this Saturday at the AdvoCare Sports Performance Center at The Greenbrier. INCLUDES UPDATED PRACTICE SCHEDULE.
- More Latest Sports Headlines
- Bradshaw or the field?