By: Seth Wilson
Courtney Newton played guard and forward for USC between 2007 and 2012. She was part of Dawn Staley's rebuilding effort at South Carolina, and was on the team that went to the Sweet 16 in 2012.
Her playing career may be over, Newton is staying involved in the sport. She's just been named head coach of the girls basketball team at Lexington High School.
"I always knew when I was little that I wanted to coach; My dad's a coach, my mom's a coach, so I always knew growing up one day I wanted to be a coach," said Newton. "I didn't know it would happen this fast but the opportunity presented itself so I'm excited that I'm already into coaching."
Newton has been working at Lexington High School as a guidance counselor, but is looking forward to her new role as coach. She will be drawing on the experience playing for Dawn Staley for her coaching methods.
Newton is also happy that to see that her alma mater and former coach are having great success. The Gamecocks are a number-one seed in the NCAA tournament.
"This year everyone's shocked what she's doing, I'm not; I knew they had it in them. I know that she had a vision to build a top program. It's just awesome to see her finally get there," said Newton.
Newton now has her own rebuilding project in Lexington, to improve a team that has two state championships in it's history but went 7-12 last season. She hopes her team looks similar to those she played on in college.
"We played hard no matter what, we competed and I want my girls to have that mindset that we are going to compete every day, we're going to play hard and really have an aggressive attitude," said Newton.
Newton's hiring has already had an impact at Lexington High School. Athletic Director Josh Stepp says hiring Newton was an opportunity they couldn't pass up.
"She brings that instant credibility and she has already generated excitement. Girls are talking about it, they're excited about the upcoming season, and excited about having the opportunity to play for her," said Stepp.
Newton is still putting together a coaching staff, and then she says she will start on planning workouts for her team. She says she's thrilled to get started.
"I'm extremely excited to get in the gym and work with the girls that we have here, but I'm also excited to get in the middle schools and get some of these camps rolling and get people excited about the game of basketball in this area," said Newton.
She appreciates the support of the community since being named head coach, and hopes she can lead Lexington High school girls basketball back to its winning ways.
"I've gotten so many text messages and things on Twitter just congratulating me from South Carolina fans to people in the community, so I'm just excited to have that support and just get started."