By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The legacy of Brighton Lady Cardinal Basketball features a few names under the category of head coach.
The latest on the list is David Wampler. The veteran coach of 26 years and various sports is taking on girls’ basketball for the first time. Wampler has coached in Kentucky and East Tennessee ranging from football to boys’ basketball. Now he brings his resume’ to Tipton County to lead the Lady Cardinals.
“I know the past here and the history,” Wampler said. “So right now we’re just trying to change the work ethic and the expectations and get fundamentally sound. Those are our keys right now.
“We want to get fundamentally sound, trying to teach them to value the basketball and not turn it over,” he added. “Intensity on defense, we’re going to put more emphasis in on defense than we do offense. And then just try to get the girls up. They’ve really been down after the last couple of years.”
Wampler is the third coach for the Lady Cardinals in as many years. Brighton has won 12 total games during that timespan and have been winless in District 13-3A play.
The Hardin County Lady Tigers, Dyer County Lady Choctaws and Munford Lady Cougars have enjoyed success during recent campaigns, some at the expense of the Lady Cardinals.
“That’s one of our goal to find a way to steal a district game,” Wampler acknowledged. “We’ve gotten out to raise some money. We have three new sets of uniforms, new shooting shirts, travel suits, practice gear and basketballs. We’re trying for a new beginning.”
Wampler is starting over from scratch with his new program. With the help of Assistant Coach Rob Dawson, the staff is building a new culture on and off the court.
“We’ve got 5 freshmen,” Wampler noted. “They are a third of my team. We’ve also got 5 sophomores as well.”
The senior trio of Aubree Jones, Lindsey Morrisette and Alyssa Hunt will be counted on for leadership and to help the program transition.
The change to the David Wampler Era was made more difficult with the Lady Cardinals missing summer camps.
“I found out at the end of basketball they’ve got beaten in the first round of Region and up until August, they haven’t done anything,” Wampler noted. “So we’re behind. What we’re looking for is what I tell them everyday, work hard and we’ll have fun while we’re working hard. As long as we get 1 percent better, if we can do that everyday during the course of the season, we’ll be the best we can be by district time.”
From now until the time the District 13-3A schedule arrives, Wampler said he wants to see players get better everyday and give full effort in the classroom, practice and games.
“We’re just trying to change the attitude and expectations,” he said. “We’ve told them the other day, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ This school opened in 1996 and they’ve only had two winning seasons. It didn’t happen overnight and we’re not going to change it overnight.
But there has to be a group of young ladies who are going to put forward the effort and work to change it,” Wampler concluded. “We don’t determine that. God determines the results. It’s our job to put in the maximum effort and hopefully those things will start to change.”