The second-year coach for Jacksonville High’s girls basketball team had an idea about how to motivate the Golden Eagles, and senior point guard Lacey Buchanon saw it on her cell phone one morning this past summer.
Her coach had texted a picture of his three state-title rings.
“I had just woke up and saw that, and I laughed,” she said. “I was like, ‘Yep, we can do that.’”
Jacksonville did it, all right, becoming the first school from Calhoun County to win a state championship in girls’ basketball.
For his part in leading the Golden Eagles to the historic feat, Calhoun County coaches voted him the county’s Class 4A-6A coach of the year.
Jacksonville finished 31-4 and made history by beating Midfield and Andalusia in Birmingham to claim the ground-breaking state title and a fourth ring for Chambless.
He was part of two state-championship football teams at Alexandria and a state-champion basketball team, and he succeeded in imparting what he learned onto his Jacksonville team.
“I just tried to use what I learned from Coach (Larry) Ginn,” he said.
Chambless also did a lot to help bring along young contributors like Angel Kidd and Virginia Poe, who became starters as freshmen.
Junior forward Kenyatta Ervin’s improvement from her sophomore year also played a major role.
But more than anything, Chambless said, he tried to match a winning mentality that many of his players brought from other sports with the one he learned at Alexandria.
That’s why he didn’t mind reminding his players that he had three rings.
“There’s something to having a winning mentality,” he said. “It’s hard to teach. It really is, but it’s contagious.”
Joe Medley is The Star’s sports columnist. Reach him at 256-235-3576. On Twitter: jmedley_star.