The news broke Wednesday and sent shockwaves across the state as one of our best coaches over the past decade announced she's moving to the college level. As we've started to high light several high school coaches across the state we thought who better to start with than five time state champion Coach Barbara Farris. While it was a huge hit to OUR game we can't express how happy we are for Coach Farris and know she'll be great at the next level. We had a second to catch up with a quick Q&A as she reflected back on her time at John Curtis.
After 10 great years at John Curtis can you talk about what the school and players that have gone through that program have meant to you?
Coach Farris - "The young ladies that I have been blessed to teach and coach have been a blessing to my life both professionally and personally. I wouldn’t have had the professional opportunities if those talented young woman hadn’t decided to attend John Curtis Christian School."
"The Curtis family has been so warm and supportive of everything incorporated into the girls basketball program. J.T Curtis has always made himself available to mentor me throughout my time at the school. Every administrator, teacher, parent volunteer has showed me nothing but genuine kindness."
What led you to choose teaching and coaching as your profession? Who are some mentors that have help you become the coach you are today?
Coach Farris - "After I finished my playing career in 2009, I was fortunate to connect with a former Tulane alum Jeff Curtis who mentioned the school was searching for a new Girls basketball coach. It really was just being in the right place at the right time. I have always respected the work of all the hard working coaches I have been fortunate to be blessed with. It was a process to learn the nuances of the game."
Your team has been consistently one of the top basketball teams in Louisiana. What do you feel are the reasons for your team's success?
Coach Farris - "The young ladies I have had the pleasure to coach have been willing to be coached. I make no apologies for having a demanding style of coaching. I understand the time and sacrifices necessary to succeed at this game. I want every young person I am fortunate enough to coach to have every opportunity made available to them. Top quality education, understanding the importance of balancing your time, and commitment towards achieving a goal. I think these qualities are something that can better our lives outside of spots as well."
Your team finished winning four straight state championships last year. How satisfied were you with last season and how do you think that will help you in your new position as assistant coach at Stenson?
Coach Farris - "They deserved all the glory for their sacrifices and hard work. That group of young ladies that was lead by a pretty dynamic player (JerKaila Jordan), worked for everything they achieved. They sacrificed their bodies and time to work towards winning a championship and they did it the right way. They bought in and realized that if they worked hard for something, even if there were no guarantees they would win, they stayed focused."
Do you have any advice to a younger coach in terms of what makes a good coach?
Coach Farris - "Be true to yourself. Keep it simple and find the strengths within your kids individually. I learned that each young lady I coached has a talent and skill that is unique to them and will better our team. Its my job to encourage them and maximize their existing skill set."
I ask this question to all the coaches I interview. What do you feel are some ways that Louisiana can improve girls basketball moving forward? What do you feel really works and made you glad to be a coach in Louisiana?
Coach Farris - "Coaches need to WORK. That’s it. They need to see this as an opportunity to better the young people they coach. Coaches need to work harder and invest in the craft. These kids deserve your best. There is just too much talent here for Louisiana student athletes not to be one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country."
Anything else you would like to add.
Coach Farris - "Thank you so much or all that you do to continue to spread the positives associated with Louisiana high school basketball. Too often women's sports are treated like second class citizens by folks that don’t know any better. The blood, sweat and tears these young ladies give to this support should be recognized and celebrated. LGR is doing an amazing job of promoting the works of these talented young ladies."