VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK: Terence James coaches players on and off the court

Published 8:00 am Sunday, February 12, 2023

This week’s Vicksburg Post Volunteer of the Week is Terence James, who volunteers at the YMCA as a Junior Prep Basketball coach.

James is a Vicksburg native who graduated from Vicksburg High School. For the past 19 years, James has been an educator with Vicksburg Warren School District. He is married to Ashley James and they have two children, Ashton and Aubry James. 

What sport do you coach?

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I coach Junior Prep Basketball. My son is on my team and I plan on coaching my daughter next year.

How did you start coaching for Junior Prep Basketball?

My dad, Otis James Sr., and my uncle, Frank James Jr., used to coach my brothers and cousins basketball when we were younger, so I was inspired by them to coach my children.

How long have you been volunteering?

 I have volunteered with the YMCA off and on but this is my second consecutive year with the YMCA.

What is your favorite memory while coaching?

One of my favorite memories while coaching was when one of my players grabbed the rebound and shot the ball to score. He used to grab the rebound to pass or dribble, but I continued to tell him to shoot the ball when he grabbed the rebound. When he finally did it, I think he realized why I kept telling him to shoot the ball when he grabbed the rebound underneath the goal. I knew he could do it, and now he realizes that he can do it.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering? 

I would encourage everyone, especially men, to take time out to volunteer with our youth. Our youth need to see and hear from men and women who care about them. They need role models to be an example and help guide them with future choices. 

What are some of your tasks while coaching?

I tasked myself to provide my youth with positive messages before we actually start practice. We have talked about respecting law enforcement, being grateful to others and loving the people who take care of them. I wanted to instill in them the values that the YMCA represents. 

What have you learned from volunteering as a coach?

I’ve learned to value each player’s individual talent regardless of their basketball skill level because they all have something to contribute to the sport. 

Any additional comments? 

I’d like to thank all the men in Vicksburg who are volunteering their time and energy to our youth in any capacity. Our youth need to see that men care about them. I would also like to thank the parents of the Jr. Prep Chiefs for the opportunity to coach their children. 

If there is a volunteer who should be featured, please submit their name and contact information to volunteer@vicksburgpost.com.