Making the walk: Natchez head coach earns masters, leads best team in state
The Natchez High School Lady Bulldog basketball team weren’t the only ones with their noses in books recently.
Head coach Alphaka Moore was right beside them, gearing up to earn her master’s degree.
“Even during our state championship run, I would be right alongside them on the bus doing homework,” Moore said. “It was cool.”
Moore was honored earlier this month with her degree in educational administration from Southern Miss, in a ceremony after her team took down Jefferson County 69-48.
“It was really nice,” Moore said. “I chose not to go to my graduation because I didn’t want to miss the game. Although I was here, I was still kind of sad that I was missing the graduation. But the fact they would go the extra length to do that for me, was really special.”
Moore has taught her teams plenty about basketball through the years and even guided them to a Class 5A state championship last year. But Moore said there is more to life than just basketball.
“When we talk, it is always about furthering education,” Moore said. “We talk about basketball, but it is also about life, too. With them, they are using basketball as a stepping stone. They’re grades are good, they’ve got good ACT scores, and they are going to use that along with basketball to get somewhere they never expected to go. For me to be able to remind them, no matter how old you get, you still have to continue to work.”
Moore has also implemented tight academic lines with her program at Natchez, and said if girls want to continue to play, they are going to have to do more than just succeed on the court.
“You hear a lot of people say some players at other schools are good, but they don’t have the brains,” Moore said. “When you come into a program like this, you have to have both. Colleges are no longer looking for kids who can just play, because they are competing with kids who can play, but also have the book smarts as well.
“They have to be the overall package, and that is what we are doing here.”