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Everyone pays heed when Shaw University’s ‘Coach Mom has spoken’
Jarita Crump a trailblazer for women in men’s sports
 
Published Tuesday, February 25, 2020 8:00 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

PHOTO | HERBERT L. WHITE
Jarita Crump of Shaw University is the second woman to coach men’s basketball in CIAA history.

Jarita Crump is far from a stereotypical basketball mom.


The Shaw University assistant coach is a rarity in the CIAA as the second woman on a men’s staff. The first, league commissioner Jacqie McWilliams, was on Naismith Hall of Fame inductee Dave Robbins’ staff at Virginia Union University from 1996-97. As more women earn jobs in the previously all-male stronghold of men’s sports, Crump understands she’s in rare territory.

“In this day and age, everything is about why not,” she said.  “Why can’t I be able to do those things? At the end of the day, the answer is yes you can, you’re absolutely able to do that. I think it goes back to your passion, it goes back to your love and confidence within yourself to go out there in uncharted areas. Even if you’re the trailblazer, you’re trailblazing for others who come up behind you and I just hope that not only for me, but [as] other women coaches continue to increase on the men’s side.”

Basketball is central to Crump’s life. The Raleigh native played forward at Campbell University from 1998-2002, where she helped the Lady Camels win a Trans America Athletic Conference championship and berth in the NCAA tournament in 2000 as well as the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship in 2001.

Crump led Raleigh Word of God Christian Academy’s varsity girls to back-to-back unbeaten conference seasons in 2008 and 2009 to go with two private school state title game appearances and the 2009 championship. She turned to college coaching with two stints as a women’s assistant coach at Shaw’s biggest rival, St. Augustine’s University before taking over as head coach from 2016-17. When Shaw men’s coach Joel Hopkins offered her a job as an assistant last October, Crump was intrigued – and inspired.

“Joel called me up and wanted me to see how I’d feel about coming to the men’s side,” she said, “so we had a conversation about it a couple times, looked at my work schedule to see if I could do it. I thought it was an awesome opportunity. I jumped into the position and have been enjoying it ever since.”

It didn’t take long for adversity to strike, though. Hopkins, who led Shaw to a CIAA title and a berth in the Division II Final Four in 2002, quit a week before the start of preseason drills to care for ailing relatives. The Bears soldiered on while Crump learned the ropes. Strategy and preparation were easy but reaching athletes who aren’t accustomed to a woman in a position of authority on the court sparked some anxiety.

“For a lot of my players, I am their first female coach, so I did have some reservations about how they were going to be open to receiving instruction, positive criticism from a female,” Crump said. “But at the end of the day, I wanted to make sure I was doing my part as a coach and not get so caught up in I’m a female and they’re male.”

Hopkins’ sudden exit took Shaw from a preseason favorite in the CIAA Southern Division to a 5-22 record and the seventh seed heading into Wednesday’s tournament opener against Fayetteville State University, the division’s No. 3 team. The Bears have learned the value of working through adversity as a family.

“Coach Crump has definitely been positive being the person who really keeps us together,” Shaw interim head coach Dominique Stephens said. “She’s kind of like the mother figure. We’ve got a little statement, ‘Coach Mom has spoken.’ Keeping the group together has been hard, but we’ve been really focused on getting the best out of these guys.”

Johnson C. Smith University coach Steve Joyner, who is in his 33rd season with the Golden Bulls, is impressed by Crump’s work.

“She’s knowledgeable, she handles herself well in the game environment,” he said. “I haven’t seen her much in a practice environment, but I’ve seen her instruct players on the court [during] a timeout. I think she’s doing an outstanding job.”
 

Comments

A great article on a rising Star in the field of men's basketball, whether its the CIAA or any American conference or even on the professional level, in due time, Coach Crump is a Winner where she goes because of her drive and passion and knowledge of how the game of basketball should be taught to the young players of today in 2020.
Posted on February 26, 2020
 

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