Four years ago, Kristen Dickerson was a star on the basketball court during her senior season at Heathwood Hall.
Now, she is preparing for her first season as a high school basketball coach. Dickerson, who was graduated from Francis Marion in May, has been hired as girls’ basketball coach at Ben Lippen School.
“I’ve been a part of basketball pretty much my whole life. Halfway through college, I just knew that I wanted to be an instructor and a coach,” said Dickerson, 21. “Ben Lippen gave me that opportunity, and I am so thankful.”
Despite her youth, leadership at Ben Lippen has confidence in Dickerson.
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“Kristen Dickerson not only has great basketball talent, she also knows how to help others reach their potential on the basketball court,” said Falcons athletics director Ben Porter. “Plus, her leadership in the (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) has helped her learn to lead from a Christian perspective, a cornerstone of our athletics program at Ben Lippen.”
In her senior season at Francis Marion, Dickerson served as team captain and was named Most Valuable Player. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Dickerson has honed her skills over four summers as a student assistant coach in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) league. This summer, she is the coach of a team within the Palmetto 76ers organization.
She has plenty of support and direction from her family of basketball aficionados, including father Jerome Dickerson, who heads the Palmetto 76ers, and older sister Brionna Dickerson, a South Carolina alumna and junior varsity coach at Richland Northeast.
“My dad has worked with Heathwood. My sisters and I all played for Heathwood, so it’s kind of like stepping out of our normal routine,” she said. “But my dad is very excited for me.”
Dickerson had her first team workout at Ben Lippen last week, shortly after she was hired.
“I became officially a Lady Falcon, and it’s great,” she said.
At Heathwood Hall, coach John O’Cain, Dickerson’s former physical education instructor, will be rooting for the former Highlander’s success.
“This is an excellent, a great, opportunity,” he said. “The key is to be patient, especially when you’re looking to build a program. It’s not an overnight process.”
O’Cain said the Highlanders, for whom Jerome Dickerson still volunteers as a basketball trainer, will look forward to competing against Dickerson’s Falcons.
“We’re going to be very strong again this coming year, but we’re not going to hold the heat to her, if you know what I mean,” O’Cain said.
But, at least one Highlander has another idea.
Younger sister Victoria Dickerson will be a senior for the Highlanders in the upcoming season.
“She said it just gives her more incentive to want to score on us,” Kristen Dickerson said. “She said I better bring my A-coaching, because she is bringing her A-game.”