The only thing standing between Jazmine Powers and her next job was literally the wide, white, painted crosswalk across Lakeshore Drive connecting the sidewalks of Samford University and the ones leading to Homewood High School.
Powers was announced as the next Homewood girls basketball coach on March 22, as she attempts to fill part of the void left by departing athletic director and coach Kevin Tubbs, who took a job in Washington.
“I am extremely grateful,” said Powers, who was in her second stint as an assistant coach with the women’s basketball program at Samford, where she also played in college. “It’s a blessing to be here at Homewood.”
What made Powers decide to walk to the curb and wait on the digital human silhouette signaling her to cross the street? After all, she was happy in her return to her alma mater.
“I wasn’t necessarily going to go out and look for anything, so to be approached by Homewood, it’s a blessing,” Powers said. “I’m beyond excited to get this platform, just to inspire, mentor and be a role model for these girls. That’s very important to me.”
Powers played for and coached under Samford head coach Mike Morris and brings experience to Homewood from both sides of the court.
“As a player, Jazmine was one of the more competitive and consistent players we had on our team. She really rose to the occasion...She showed up to work every day, ready to go, ready to play, and she was a very tough competitor," Morris said.
She initially met with Homewood administration and took a few days to consider her future. The timing was right, and a healthy situation that fit what Powers anticipated being the next stop in her career.
“I knew I kind of wanted to get back into high school coaching,” she said.
Much of the allure to the high school game is the ability to be a positive influence on the girls that she will to coach.
“With the game of basketball, there’s so many lessons you learn, I’m super excited to be able to work with this group and the groups to come,” Powers said.
This will be Powers’ second go-round as a head coach at the high school level, as she coached at the Cornerstone School in Huffman during the 2015-16 school year after three seasons in her first stint at Samford.
“The experience at Cornerstone was exciting,” Powers said. “It was new. I just took a step out on faith. I had never been a teacher, had never been a head coach, but I had peace about it. I knew it was something I would be able to do, because I felt like that’s where God had directed me.”
Christian Schweers, the athletic director who hired Powers at Cornerstone and currently an assistant basketball coach at Mountain Brook High School, gave the hire a glowing review.
“She has a tremendous work ethic and will push those talented seniors,” Schweers said. “She can relate to her players better than almost anyone else. That’s her gift. She really cares about her players and it’s a 24/7, 365(-day) thing. She has the ‘it’ factor as a person, and I’m extremely happy for her.”
The Decatur native will inherit a core group that has been to the Class 6A state championship game each of the last three seasons, with two titles to show for it. Former coaches JoVanka Ward – now at Thompson – and Tubbs have constructed a foundation that Powers plans to keep building on.
Powers said, “The winning culture has been established, and we will work hard and have good attitudes.
“That will definitely be magnified as I start working with them. It’s going to be important. We have a lot of seniors. We have a younger group coming up too, so them buying into how we go about doing things, it’s definitely going to help set the tone.”
Homewood graduates Shelby Hardy and Venice Sanders after this season, with eight rising seniors for Powers’ first campaign. Obviously, she has some things she would like to bring to the table, but the Lady Patriots will continue to run a fast-paced system.
Morris said that Powers' work ethic as a player has carried over into her time as a coach, and believes she is more than fit for her new challenge.
He said, "As good of a coach as she is, she’s even a better person, and I think her character is what drives her consistency. We were very fortunate to have her as a player and we’ve been very fortunate to have her as a coach.
"I know she is prepared for this job at Homewood. I think it is as good of a high school job as there is in this state, with great people, a great system and a great community. I know she is going to do very, very well for those young ladies and for Homewood High School.”