Lynn Jarrett just completed her sixth season as an assistant girls basketball coach at North Gwinnett. Before that the East Hall High graduate was a college coach for 20 years, including 17 as a head coach.
In this latest installment of "Getting to Know...," Jarrett talks with staff writer Corey Clark on a variety of topics, ranging from working with first-year North girls coach Tony Watkins to the evolution of women's basketball to her favorite dessert.
CC: Well, I was going to ask how much you learned from Coach Watkins this year, but since you were a college coach for two decades I guess I should ask what you taught him?
LJ: No, no, I did learn a lot from being around Tony. Tony's just a natural, some people have to work at it, but coaching just comes so natural for him as far as motivating. It was a great experience. Plus we won (the Bulldogs finished 22-7), so that helped. But working for him was really good for me.
CC: Were you guys overachievers this year?
LJ: I don't think there's any doubt. Tony came in and installed a system that stressed fundamentals. He also has this ability to give you an air of confidence that if you do what we ask you to do, you're going to win ... But I do think we overachieved. We didn't shoot the ball well and still won basketball games. Tony probably does as good a job as any coach I've ever seen in scouting and breaking down opponents and taking away other teams' strengths. He does such a tremendous job with that, and the girls playing hard and believing in him helped too.
CC: What position did you play back in your playing days?
LJ: I was a guard. I played a little 3 on 3 and I played one year of 5 on 5. So you don't have to ask me how old I am now. But I've really watched the girls game evolve. You get mad at these young girls sometimes that take a lot of things for granted. I worked for a lot of great people and I was fortunate that I worked with a lot of good men. I didn't have to have any lawsuits. They all treated me well. But yeah, I've watched it evolve. I can remember when there wasn't a lot of money, and now there's a lot of money and a lot of pressure. Plus, the players are a whole lot better.
CC: Speaking of players being better, just how good is Maya Moore?
LJ: I don't think there's any doubt she's a top 25 player. She's a very mature kid for her age and she can play on the highest level. Physically, she's got to develop a little bit, but that will come with year round training. Mentally, she's one of the toughest juniors I've ever seen. She's obviously worked on her game, I don't think there's any doubt. And she'll be playing at one of the top 5 programs in the country. But people have to understand something, when you get to that level everyone's a little bigger, a little stronger. But I would say her and Tasha Humphrey are the two best to come out of this area in a long time.
CC: What was the most points you ever scored in a game?
LJ: Oh, I don't know. I'm sure Tony can tell you how many he scored, but I'm sure mine was something like 22 or 23.
CC: Did you watch the Academy Awards?
LJ: I did not. I watched the beginning of it, but that was it.
CC: So you're not a big movie person?
LJ: I rent movies, but not during the season. It's movie time coming up after the Final Four. I don't start watching movies until basketball is off the TV. This sport has been very good to me, Corey. It's given me an opportunity to work with some great young ladies and have the opportunity to watch them grow up and be successful. I've met a lot of people and I've loved every minute of it. I don't remember it ever being a job. It's just something I've always loved, something I was supposed to do. Twenty-six years is a long time, but I still enjoy getting up in the morning.
CC: If you could pick one dessert to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?
LJ: It would be cheesecake. I love it. I had some last night actually. And if I could choose a food for the rest of my life, it would definitely be a dessert. I promise you. It wouldn't be a steak or anything like that.
CC: When did you know you wanted to be a coach?
LJ: I honestly think probably my sophomore year of college. I knew I was going to be a P.E. major, because back then if you were in sports, that's what you did. And I enjoyed the teaching part and I realized I didn't want to give it up. I wanted to work in the sport in some capacity, whatever it was.
CC: How long do you think you'll continue to do it?
LJ: Oh, I'm going to do it a little bit longer. I still love it. This year was great. And it doesn't stress me out like it used to. Stepping back and becoming an assistant really helped my stress level a lot. College was intense. You have to have endurance because night in and night out it can be a grind. But right now, I still love it. And as long as I still get nervous and still have the feeling, I'm going to stay with it.