Female head coaches at Lakeside setting a trend

By Josh Beavers

Hidden down on the south end of the parish is an athletic gem carved out of the Piney Woods. It’s Lakeside, a small school that is home to something unique in local school sports. There are four separate teams helmed by female head coaches. That’s a remarkable achievement at any level much less a school with a high school enrollment of less than 300.

The Journal will publish a pair of Q&A stories this summer posing questions to these women about the importance of sports programs and the unique difference between a male coach and a female coach when it comes to mentoring young women in athletic competitions.

First up is LHS softball coach Roo Johnson and junior high softball coach Emily Maness.

The Journal: What made you want to coach at Lakeside?

Johnson: The family atmosphere and the competitive spirit from faculty and administration. The opportunity to continue mentoring female athletes to reach their full potential.

Maness: I honestly love the kids the most. I know we have some of the best kids in Webster Parish, and I love seeing their love and drive for sports and education. I have also created some of the best memories with kids from Lakeside.

The Journal: What is your hope for the athletic programs in the future?

Johnson: My hope is to continue to build from a strong program and develop talent and grow young women into strong, confident, successful women, while trying to compete for a state title.

Maness: My hope for the athletic programs is that we continue to grow and become better each year. I also hope that we learn to evolve each year and not think that we have to keep doing the same things over and over.

The Journal: Lakeside is unique in the fact you are a small school but have several female coaches. Do you think female athletes relate better to you than they would a male coach? Why?

Johnson: I love the uniqueness of Lakeside with the small size. It makes it feel like a family. I think that it’s important for any young female or male to have strong role models. I’m excited for my young boys to have strong male role models at Lakeside, as I am sure parents can be excited to have strong female role models for their daughters’ lives. Whether we are coaches or teachers, it’s a blessing to have so many wonderful individuals for our youth to look up to.

Maness: I believe that female athletes relate better to me than they do a male coach because I understand what it’s like to be in their position. I know what it’s like to be a female athlete, so I can understand some of their needs more than a male coach can. I can relate to them more.

The Journal: Why do you love coaching in general? What made you want to become a coach?

Johnson: I love coaching because I love watching a kid struggle at something and keep striving to focus on the process and eventually have success. To see the pride and confidence gained in a young person when they complete a task that they once weren’t able to do is so amazing. It is what fuels me. I have always loved building relationships with kids and families. I have lasting friendships from coaching. And what made me want to be a coach was having so many strong coaches in my life that helped shape me into the person I am today. And I wanted to be that to someone.

Maness: I love coaching because I love softball. I want to instill that love for softball into my players. When I played softball in high school, I knew that I would come back and coach one day. I knew that softball was something that I was good at, and I wanted to know everything about it. I worked hard every time I stepped on that field and by senior year I was awarded the “Gotta Love It” Award which to me was the highest award I could ever receive. Ever since I graduated, I have wanted to get back on the field, and that’s exactly what coaching allows me to do. It’s even better now because I get to watch girls learn and grow and fall in love with the same sport that I love so much.

PHOTO: Lakeside Jr. High School softball coach Emily Maness is one of four female head coaches at Lakeside. That is unique in local sports.

To report an issue or typo with this articleCLICK HERE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *