Roberts settling in as leader of Enterprise basketball programs

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 23, 2024

Blaine Roberts knew he wanted to one day lead his own basketball program.

The Brookhaven Academy graduate got that chance earlier this year when he was hired to coach both the girls’ and boys’ teams at Enterprise Attendance Center. Roberts takes over for Rusty Newman, who led the Yellow Jackets for one year before moving to Loyd Star to be head coach of the Hornets.

Roberts was a decorated athlete while suiting up for coach Dale Watts and the Cougars. On his desk in the EAC gymnasium sits a stack of three boxes, containing the three state championship rings that Roberts won at Brookhaven Academy in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

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After the 2008-2009 season, Roberts was recognized as the Area MVP by The Daily Leader. He signed to play at Copiah-Lincoln CC for coach Dennis Sims, appearing in 22 games as a freshman.

Roberts began a career in the car business after leaving college short of completing his degree.

“I can relate to those kids that don’t want to go to college and want to start working out of school,” said Roberts. “I enjoyed selling cars and it was a great career for me, but at the same time I knew that I really wanted to coach one day and if I was going to do that, I needed to get back in school.”

In 2020, his wife encouraged him to finish his bachelor’s degree in English. Roberts and his wife Gabby are the parents of one daughter, Kami Beth.

Of equal importance on his desk beside the championship rings is a picture of him holding Kami Beth, standing beside Gabby, as he wears a cap, gown and chords at his graduation from the University of Southern Mississippi. Gabby will also be a teacher at Enterprise next year.

The 6-foot-3 Roberts also had a period where he was a professional level disc golf player. Known for being able to throw a disc 600 feet, he’s not able to bang chains much anymore.

“I’ve got an arm injury that keeps me from playing a lot of disc golf now,” said Roberts.

When asked how he injured the arm, Roberts laughs and says, “Playing disc golf.”

Roberts worked for half a year as a teacher at Hattiesburg High. His first full time gig was last year at North Pike Middle School, where he taught English and coached basketball.

He knew that coaching was his desired career path, but in just one season he learned that being a coach means much more than running practice and driving a bus to games.

“It’s more than just basketball, it’s more than just x’s and o’s,” said Roberts. “It’s talking to kids and figuring out how to get them to want more for themselves. It’s a lot of helping them to find intrinsic motivation.”

Roberts inherited a girls’ team that went 10-14 last season and a boys’ squad that finished 12-13 and hosted an MHSAA 1A playoff game for the first time in a long time.

He is putting his team through weekly workouts this summer and is excited about getting a chance to help mold his players, just as Watts helped mold him all those years ago.

“I have certain ideas of how I want us to play,” said Roberts. “It starts with our defense and that’s what we’ve been working on a lot. We’ve got plenty of time between now and the season beginning to improve, and I think we’ve been getting a little better each day thus far, so I’m excited.”