FORT PAYNE — Stormy Stevens has a love for basketball that has him ready to play an old-fashioned game of pickup at a moment’s notice. He’s always up for grabbing his sneakers and running the court.
“Tomorrow I may not be able to move,” he said with a laugh, “but I love it.”
The Fort Payne City Schools Board of Education approved Stevens’ hiring as assistant varsity boys basketball coach. Stevens replaces Lamar Hendricks, who was hired as the head boys basketball coach at his alma mater, Pisgah, last month.
Hendricks spent three seasons at Fort Payne, working as an assistant boys basketball coach under then-head coach Glen Hicks for two seasons and current head coach Michael Banks for one season. He also coached the freshman boys team for two seasons and the junior varsity boys last season.
Stevens jumped right into his assistant duties with the varsity boys team this summer.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said. “That first week, I felt my way around trying to figure things out. But since then I’ve fit in. I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be right now and I’ve loved it so far.
“I’m ready to see how school is going to start and how the season’s going to be. It’s scary thinking there’s a possibility it may not work out, but these boys are working every day, working like we’re trying to win a state championship.”
Banks, who runs a predominantly man-to-man defensive style with his team, said he likes what Stevens’ predominantly zone defensive background brings to the Wildcats.
“...It’s been good for me to have his expertise in zone (defense), and I’ve shared a lot of my thoughts on man defense and we’ve been putting it together,” Banks said.
“Next year we’re going to have to be very multiple in what we do. We’re not going to be able to be this kind of team. We’re going to have to learn different ways to win games. It may be playing man-to-man one night and zone the next.”
Stevens said he and Banks have the same end goal, just different ideas on how the team can reach it. He said bouncing ideas off Banks has “been refreshing.”
“We mesh what we do and I think it’s going to be good for us and for the boys,” he said.
Stevens coached the Woodville girls for three years before spending the last four years as Section’s girls basketball coach.
He graduated from Section in 2007, and earned an Earth system science degree from the University of Alabama-Huntsville. After deciding against pursuing meteorology, he returned to school and earned a master’s degree in education from Alabama A&M.
Stevens was then hired to teach high school science and lead the varsity girls basketball program at Woodville.
“I had an amazing group of girls there,” he said. “When I got there I wanted to work hard and the girls wanted to work hard. ...To be able to love the game and teach kids to love it, that’s perfect.”
Banks said Stevens’ playing and coaching experience at the varsity level brings another set of eyes to catch things during workouts that he misses.
“I look forward to working with him in games,” Banks said. “He’s done a great job for me this summer, he’s really helped me out with the junior high team. The guys like the way he coaches, the way he pushes them. He’s very relatable and has been a great addition to the staff.”