Ansley Stalcup Nelson will move to the head coaching chair in 2019-20

Posted June 5, 2019 at 12:26 pm

Word came Friday morning that the Clinton County High School Site Based Decision Making Council hired Ansley Stalcup Nelson as the new head coach of the Lady Bulldogs for the upcoming season.

Nelson will be following in the footsteps of Darrell Thompson, who was head coach of the girls’ team for eight seasons.

Thompson announced his retirement during the first week of April.

Nelson is no stranger to the Lady Dawgs’ program, having served at almost every capacity all the way down to water girl during her elementary school days.

“My roots run deep in this program and a lot of people know that,” Nelson said. “I’m still just ecstatic right now. I can’t believe this is happening. Coming all the way up from being water girl, to having a successful career as a player and moving on to having a career as a college player to coming back and being on the staff … I’m very blessed.”

Nelson was a standout player as a middle school student and once in high school, led her team to an elite eight appearance in the All “A” State Tournament and finished her senior year with a 27-6 record.

Nelson has been on the bench for the past two seasons as an assistant coach to Thompson.

“Congratulations to Ansley and her family, we are excited to see the tradition get passed on to one of our own! We are a Lady Bulldog family,” Athletic Director Nick Irwin said.

Nelson said she is more than ready to get the ball rolling.

“I’m pretty excited,” Nelson said. “I’m a little bit overwhelmed by all the messages and calls I’ve received. People saying congratulations and that they support me.”

Nelson has to get into the mix with her team pretty quick, with the official word of her being hired coming on Friday of last week, she had three days to prepare them for games on the following Tuesday.

“I’m very ready to get the ball rolling,” Nelson said. “I was ready to get the ball rolling two months ago, but now that the ball has just been handed to me, so lets roll with it.”

Nelson said the summer is going to go quickly as the Lady Dawgs have summer games scheduled on Tuesday of this week.

“With it being so short, I just want to get the girls in there and get them started,” Nelson said. “I want to get them used to me and get them started.”

Nelson said she isn’t sure who will be with her on the sidelines this season, but will announce her assistant coaches once it has been finalized.

Nelson has some expectations on how she hopes her first season goes, however, she knows it will take time in order to build up the program.

“For one, building … its definitely going to be building,” Nelson said. “It might even be three or four years before the program is up to where I want it to be. We are very young. We don’t have any seniors, so we are looking at a young team. My goal is to get out there and get the girls to believe in themselves.”

Nelson said she is a firm believer in having a good feeder program and wants to work closely with those involved in the middle school and other programs in the county.

“I want to work with the middle school and the younger programs,” Nelson said. “If you look at other programs … Monroe County’s program, Pickett County’s program, they start when they are small. Youth development is key. I want all of us to be on the same page. When they get to me, I want them to get to basic things. Whoever does get into that position, I want us to collaborate. It feeds into it. With us being so young and shorthanded, we are going to get seventh and eighth graders. That’s just how it is and how it has been for years. It’s going to be very important to us.”

Having spent two years as an assistant coach, Nelson feels it has prepared her for her new position as head coach.

“I feel like the last two years has really helped me a lot,” Nelson said. “Being under Coach Thompson as a player and as a coach, he has helped me a lot. I think getting to know the girls and figuring out how they run has really helped me. Yes there is going to be a change, but they are still going to see a familiar face on the bench. Just knowing that somebody who has been there for them, I think that is going to be important to them as well.”

Nelson is well aware of the task in front of her. She is excited to get started and hopes to gain momentum as the season progresses.

“I know I have a big task in front of me,” Nelson said. “I’m ready to roll. I want to try and get more bodies in there because I know we have athletes who don’t come out to play basketball. Being a small school, kids are going to have to play multiple sports. I hope kids can look and say they are enjoying it and might come out to play.”

Nelson said she is thankful to have the support and hopes she continues to have the same support moving forward.

“I want to thank everyone who has molded me into the person I am today and I hope to lead these girls and have a great season,” Nelson said.

Ansley Stalcup Nelson 2018.psd