MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Jared Hensley, the athletic director at Soddy-Daisy High School, did not have to search far and wide for the Lady Trojans’ new basketball coach. She has been roaming the halls of the high school for almost three years.
Twenty-six-year-old Kayla Burse has been selected to replace former coach Drew Lyness, who left two weeks ago to become the girls’ coach at Walker Valley.
“I am blessed and excited,” Burse said Friday morning in a telephone interview. “I already have a busy plate but it comes at the right time and I am ready for the challenge.”
Burse teaches business education, serves as the boys’ and girls’ tennis coach and has spent some time assisting with the volleyball team. Burse will continue to coach the tennis teams.
“It’s going to be great having someone in our building to coach the girls and build relationships and, as everyone knows, that’s huge when you’re talking about hiring anyone these days,” Hensley said. “She can do the daily things like check on athletes and their grades and things like that in addition to coaching them. Coach Lyness was a huge asset to our school and athletic department and we wish him well at Walker Valley. But we’re excited about coach Burse. We’re glad she chose to stay here and take our girls’ basketball team where it needs to be.”
The program has struggled mightily in recent years but Burse brings an athletic background into the new position and that can be a positive in her ability to get the best out of her players.
Burse, who graduated from Arts & Sciences, was a three-sport standout at CSAS – volleyball, tennis and basketball – and won back-to-back state doubles titles along with her twin sister, Ahmee Kelly (Burse’s maiden name). She was an all-state selection and region player of the year. She also helped CSAS to the basketball state tournament.”
Burse played two sports at Milligan College tennis and basketball.
When asked if she could pick her favorite sport, Burse said, “Whatever season we’re in that’s my sport. I’ve enjoyed all three and sports have been a family pastime for many years.”
When news that Lyness had taken the post at Walker Valley spread around the school, Burse was asked several times if she going to coach basketball. She slyly began to make it known she might be interested.
“I texted (principal Steve Henry) this: heard Drew was leaving,” she said. “A while later I was walking around the building and saw Jared Hensley and he had a big smile on his face.
“This all literally came to fruition in about four days.”
When did Burse accept the job offer?
“Thursday,” she said. “I guess today makes it super official since I’m talking to a reporter on the telephone.”
Now, all that’s left is rearranging her busy schedule enough to fit in a little basketball. It won’t be a problem.
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)