By Thomas Sellers Jr.
It appeared the final chapter of the Brandon’s Sporting Life at Millington Central High School was written in May 2014 when youngest Devynn Brandon competed at the State Track Tournament.
With the hiring of former Millington Lady Trojan Tamarah Brandon as head coach of the volleyball team this summer, its time to start the epilogue of the Brandon family’s contribution to MCHS Athletics.
“It’s a blessing,” Tamarah said. “I thought it was a great opportunity for me to come back to my alma mater. I want to benefit Millington because I know I’ve been here and done that. I know how it feels to be here playing sports. You don’t have any scholarships and you want to get out there.
“I want to get my girls out there,” the 24-year-old continued. “I’ve already asked for the colleges they want. I’m going to connect them and maybe they can come by and look at the volleyball team. I want to give these girls an opportunity to do something with their lives. They love volleyball.”
Brandon’s love of volleyball brought her back to the school she graduated from in 2010. She was a three-sport standout and the third in the line of four children of Ricky and LaCanas Brandon to shine at MCHS.
Charrii got things rolling playing basketball, soccer and running track. She earned a college scholarship in soccer. Ricky was up next having success with Trojan Track.
Devynn concluded the Brandon children’s activity as a two-sport standout in basketball and track. He reached State in the High Jump his senior year.
Tamarah compiled an impressive resume’ in volleyball, basketball and track. She ran in multiple Sub-State events in track. She was a starter in volleyball and was in the first five on four consecutive Sub-State teams in basketball.
Brandon was the key contributor on the 2007-08 team that reached the Class 3A State championship game in basketball.
With a degree in English and African-American History from The University of Memphis, Tamarah put herself in a position to join the high school coaching ranks.
“I can’t do girls basketball,” she acknowledged with a smile. “I would rather do boys’ basketball. I actually like volleyball more. Volleyball is more fun to me — when I was in school.
“A lot of people don’t know that,” Brandon continued. “I just stuck with basketball and track. But volleyball was more fun. I loved my teammates. I loved the spirit. Although we did lose, we had fun because of the attitudes on the court.”
In a recent practice, Brandon has her girls building cohesion and positive vibes with drills. The first-year Head Coach enters a solid situation with the 2016 Lady Trojan Volleyball team.
Last year Millington Volleyball made history under the guidance of Jenna Harper. The Lady Trojans won the District 15-2A Tournament championship and reached Sub-State, both first in school history.
“I know they’re wanting to win,” Brandon said. “They have the mindset and attitude. I know we’re going to go to State this year and make some noise at State. I can feel it.”
Building toward the next level with a solid corps., Brandon is taking advantage of her age to form more trust with her players.
“Another thing that makes them familiar with me is my age,” she said. “I’m kind of young. So I can speak to them. I know the trends and I know the music. It’s good to help me relate to them. We see eye to eye but I can still be a bridge with their parents.”
Tamarah’s hire serves as a bridge between her and her mother. For several years LaCanas has contributed to the Millington community as a teacher for Millington middle and elementary schools.
“I think my mom is more excited than I am,” Tamarah said. “She was in like happy tears. She’s been trying to get me to come to Millington since I graduated in college. I’m finally here and she’s more ecstatic than me.”
Don’t be surprised if you see a Brandon combination on the sideline. Both Brandon women coached most of these players recently on the middle school level.
Whether it’s the gymnasium, track, field or classroom, the Brandons are still authoring good things in the Millington community.
“I think it feels great to have our family name in this school — in Millington period,” Tamarah said. “Usually when you know somebody’s name there’s some negativity. When you hear the Brandons name, there is some positivity. That’s one thing I love about it.
“We did contribute to Millington when we moved here,” she concluded. “We’ve been here for 12 years now. It has been a great experience since coming here and my family name is a positive name out here.”