James Clanahan, a 1992 Meadowcreek graduate, is an assistant coach with the Peachtree Ridge boys basketball team. In this latest installment of "Getting to Know...," Clanahan talks with staff writer Corey Clark about a variety of topics, ranging from his playing days to Rosie O'Donnell to his future plans.
CC: So you and your wife (Amy) are expecting your first child in a few months - are you prepared?
JC: Oh yeah, we've already started buying diapers. I hear from everyone though that no matter how many we buy, it still won't be enough.
CC: Did you always know you wanted to be a coach?
JC: I did. You know, teaching is kind of in our blood. My dad (current Peachtree Ridge assistant Jim Clanahan) has been a teacher for 30 years, my sister was a teacher when she got out of Georgia Southern, my mom has been working in Gwinnett County education since I can remember. It's kind of in the family to be working with kids, helping them out. And you have to be a great teacher to be a great coach. And I knew that's what I wanted to do.
CC: Your dad taught me economics in high school (at Meadowcreek), did you ever get that pleasure?
JC: No, he never taught me. It was kind of weird. At Brookwood, we took economics as sophomores. But at Meadowcreek, kids took it as seniors. So by the time I transferred over to Meadowcreek my senior year, I had already taken it.
CC: You averaged about 17 a game your senior year at Meadowcreek, did you ever talk trash from time to time?
JC: A little bit, but there really wasn't much trash to talk. We weren't that good. We didn't win many games that year. We beat North Gwinnett, who I think was AA that year. Then Timmy Dam threw one over the backboard to beat Loganville. And then we went down to Shiloh and beat them at their place, even though we started the game down 10-0. Coach (Kent) Doehrman wrote the jerseys in wrong on the score sheet, and it was a technical for each one. So before the game even started, they came out and hit 10 technical free throws to go up 10-0. And we actually came back to win that one, but we didn't win too many.
CC: How do you like working with your dad?
JC: It's ... he's ... it's kind of no different than growing up with him. I heard him telling this to someone the other day, I think I played 127 games in college and he said he missed four. And he was teaching then, he was traveling all over the southeast to watch me play and then driving back. He didn't miss any school. And I heard from people that had classes with him how he would come back and talk about the games ... and now that he's here with me, he moved from Snellville and now lives in Buford, so I get to see him a lot more. It's a great experience just being around him more.
CC: How did you and your wife meet?
JC: My sister and her sister were next-door neighbors - they lived over in Cobb County. And she knew my sister for about four years before I ever saw her. Then I went over to my sister's house one day and she was there and we got to talking. I called her a couple of weeks later and our first date was to a NASCAR race in Atlanta, where I had gotten some box seats.
CC: Box seats, huh? That had to impress her.
JC: (Laughs) Yeah, and we had box seats for the next date we went on, too. I was coaching girls basketball at Duluth and one of our players was able to get us box seats to the Thrashers game.
CC: Two dates, two box seats - she must have thought you were really important?
JC: Yeah, she started thinking, 'This is great.' And we hit it off from that point on. And now, it will be five years this spring that we will have been married.
CC: Who is the most annoying celebrity?
JC: Oh, Rosie O'Donnell. She's really annoying. She always seems to be running her mouth about everybody and everything.
CC: What was the last concert you went to?
JC: That's a good
question. Did I go to the Kid Rock concert before or after the Ludacris concert? I guess it was Ludacris. I saw him at the Tabernacle.
CC: Oh, so no box seats for that one, huh?
JC: (Laughs) No. There are no boxes in there.
CC: You know, you might just be the only teacher in Peachtree Ridge history that has been to a Ludacris concert.
JC: Yeah, I'm trying to think if there was anybody else that was there. I guess I probably am.
CC: Do you want to be a head coach someday, is that a goal of yours?
JC: When the time is right, I'd like to be a head coach. But it's a great opportunity to work with Gerald (Arnold). He's such a good coach and a good person. And there's so much more I can learn, working with him and such a high-caliber group of kids that we have. And I talked to Coach Arnold over the summer about my father coming over and helping us out and he was all for it. So you add 30-something extra years to the program and now I have two great coaches to work under. I've learned so much over the last couple of years, it's been an awesome experience ... and I'd like to be a head coach one day, but I'm also enjoying being a part of what is here.