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Stephens joins FMS as boys' basketball coach

With over a decade of coaching experience on the hardwood, Lance Stephens has been tapped to lead the boys’ basketball team at Fayetteville Middle School.

Coach Stephens joins the Tiger program after spending the past four years as head boys’ basketball coach at DAR Middle in Grant, Ala. Prior to that, he served as head boys’ basketball coach at Flintville School for five years and was an assistant coach at Lincoln County High School while attending Martin Methodist College, where he was a player/assistant coach for the RedHawks.

“FMS is proud to have a coach with such great coaching experience,” said Spencer Perrin, athletic director at Fayetteville Middle School. “After talking with Coach Stephens, we are excited for the future of our boys’ basketball program. Our job in middle school athletics is to prepare them for the next level, and I feel that we have the right man for the job. We are looking forward to him being an asset in our building, as well as on the court.”

From a young age, Coach Stephens knew he wanted to coach basketball. He was fortunate to have the support of his parents, Ricky and Jamie Stephens, who have served as mentors during his playing and coaching career.

“They have been like my ‘assistant coaches’ the last 15 years,” the coach said of his parents. “They have a vast knowledge of basketball, so we would talk about upcoming games and strategy. We would talk about the good and bad things after games and what I could have done differently. They have really helped me along in my coaching career.  Their support means a lot to me.”

Coach Stephens said he is blessed to have a supportive wife, Kailee, who shares his passion for the game. He and Kailee just welcomed their first child, a baby girl.

“I have a very supportive wife who wants to see me succeed and reach my fullest potential,” Coach Stephens said. “She rarely misses my games. Since we have been together, she has seen many games and understands basketball, and we will talk about the game and what she saw, as well. Her confidence in me to be a great coach means the world to me.” 

Coach Stephens credits Coach Chad Tipps for helping him launch his coaching career. Tipps encouraged him as a player and then assisted Stephens with coaching summer teams so he could get his feet wet as a head coach.

“He would let me run practices and give me suggestions,” Coach Stephens said, “and I was able to coach with him for a few years. He’s been really helpful to me in coaching over the last 10 years.”

Coach Stephens is looking forward to leading the middle school program and building a strong foundation for Coach Chris Murdock’s high school Tiger program.

“You want to compete with everybody, but you also want to get the kids ready for the next level too,” Coach Stephens said. “Coach Murdock has done a great job, and we want to be that good foundation to build off of so that they will be ready when they get to him.

“We’ll talk about accountability and responsibility and try to help them grow,” he said of what players can expect. “We’ll talk about life lessons, as well. They will work hard and give a lot of effort. If we just do those two things, good things are going to come our way.”