Natchez High girls basketball coach leaving NHS for Laurel

Published 1:53 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Natchez High School girls basketball team will have a number of fresh faces on the court next season with the departure of seniors Ernesha Chatman, Skylar Morgan and Zyaire Ewing.

The Lady Bulldogs will also have a new face pacing on the sidelines as coach Alphaka Moore announced she is leaving for her alma mater, Laurel High School.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with kids who are growing up how I grew up,” Moore said. “I’m looking to forward to giving them what I’ve been blessed to give the kids here in Natchez.”

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Moore departs Natchez after a strong four-year run, which includes back-to-back MHSAA Class 5A titles in 2014 and 2015.

“My four years here have really been a blessing,” Moore said. “I’ve seen a lot of kids get the opportunity to go to college through basketball. My career has blossomed, and it really opened a lot of positive opportunities for me in the future.”

Moore said the move is bittersweet as she is looking forward to returning to her alma mater, but will also miss the relationships she’s established in her time at Natchez.

“I’m looking forward to going home, but at the same time, I’m really sad about what I’m leaving behind,” Moore said. “The thing I remember the most (at Natchez) is the opportunity we had to make history, and we were able to do it twice.”

Natchez High athletic director and assistant principal Jacob Pryor said while he is said to see Moore depart, he certainly understand the move.

“(Moore) has done a great job reaching out to local colleges and universities and encouraging our student-athletes to pursue college scholarship opportunities,” Pryor said. “She’s done a real good job of instilling work ethic in the kids and what it takes to reach the next level.”

Pryor said the school is currently accepting applications for the position and hopes to find a suitable replacement.

“It’s going to be hard to fill her shoes,” Pryor said. “It’s difficult to replace a Coach Moore. We’re trying to find the best person not only for academics, but also the best for the girls program. We’re looking for a coach that’s going to be more than just a coach. We want someone that’s going to mentor these young ladies and grow them and give back to the community.”

Moore came to Natchez in 2012 after a one-year stint at Union High School. Moore said she is thankful for the relationships she’s established in her tenure at Natchez.

“(I’ll miss) the bonds that I have with the students, faculty and staff,” Moore said. “I think that’s something that I’ll never forget. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the kids I was able to work with and the love and outpouring support from the community and the love and support for those that are here and who worked with us.”