Coach Kim Lawrence


On Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, Coach Kim Lawrence ‘00 was named the 2021-2022 Coach of the Year by the NFHS Coaches Association. It is an award that recognizes the most outstanding coach from the country. Previously, twenty-three high school coaches from across the country were selected as National Coaches of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association. So, for our very own Coach Kim Lawrence to have received one is very exciting.

“It made me feel great. It was an awesome opportunity, and I am truly blessed to have received the award, “Lawrence said. Lawrence’s goal as a coach has always been to make sure that she is coaching to the best of her abilities. “I evaluate myself every day, making sure I'm doing my job of getting the best out of my players,” Lawrence said. “Winning Coach of the Year is a bonus to make sure that I'm always doing what I'm supposed to be doing.”

As a student-athlete at WA in 2000, Lawrence learned a lot from her high school coach. “His system and ability to get the best out of us is one that I use with my players now,” Lawrence said. “I know that it didn’t always go over well with some of my teammates, but I try to take the good and turn it around and use it now as a coach.”

Coach Lawrence believes that the key to being a great coach is looking beyond basketball. She uses inspiration from previous coaches and books to help better herself as a coach.

“As far as building a culture and team unity, most of that stuff I picked up along the way in my master classes and books I've read on being a transformational coach,” Lawrence said. “A couple of my coaches were transformational, all about building relationships with the players and understanding that it wasn’t just all about basketball. While my other coaches were simply X’s and O’s.”

Coach Lawrence said there isn’t a specific way to coach, and, as a coach, she has learned to become very flexible and adaptive. “My coaching style in general continues to change according to who I am coaching,” Lawrence said. “When I first started coaching here, there were a few things that I was not able to do that I’m able to do now just based on the skill and talent level in my players. So, each year is different, and I adapt my coaching style accordingly to make sure that what I’m doing is best for the team overall. I give postseason evaluations with my players and take their input into consideration.”

When asked about the impact she intends to leave on her players and this program, Coach Lawrence did not hold back. “I’ve always talked to my players about legacy, and my dad has always stressed to me ‘Wherever you go, whatever you do, leave it better than how you found it,’ so my goal is to leave this program better than how it was when I got it,” Lawrence said. “It was good when I got it, but my goal is to continue to make it even better as far as the program goes. I hope my players know that if they need someone to talk to or need help with anything that I am always someone they can turn to and count on.”

Coach Lawrence and Emanuel County


Coach Kim Lawrence's connection to Emanuel County and Swainsboro's athletic history runs deep. Kim is the daughter of Tyice and Robert "Bobby" Lawrence. Bobby is a 1966 graduate of Emanuel County Elementary and High School. He played basketball under the legendary coach James White. Kim's aunts, (twins) Martha and Mary Lawrence, were part of the 1959 Emanuel County Elementary and High School Rattlers state championship basketball team. Additionally, Kim's uncle John Lawrence who also attended Emanuel County High was one of the first black students and basketball players at Georgia Southern University (1965).

In addition to coaching at Woodard Academy, Kim won a state championship as a player at Woodward in 1999. Kim graduated from Woodward Academy in 2000. After graduation, she attended Furman University, where she continued to excel on the basketball court. Upon graduating from Furman, Kim played professional basketball in Holland. She later returned to Woodward Academy as an assistant coach. In 2012 she became the head coach.

On the roster of Woodward Academy are Delany and Lauren Cooper. These two young ladies also have ties to Emanuel County and Swainsboro. Delany and Lauren are first cousins to Swainsboro High star athlete DeMello Jones. Their father, Deke Cooper, is from the Cross and Green Community.


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