Akilah Edmondson didn’t expect to be running the St. Clair County Community College women’s basketball program in 2015.
But after former coach Joel Whymer, who Edmondson served as an assistant under this past season, took a job with the Wayne State women’s basketball program, Edmondson finds herself in that very spot.
“I’m ecstatic about having the opportunity to work with such a great group of young women,” Edmondson said. “Never in a million years would I have expected to be in this position, especially this soon. Things are just happening so fast for me in my life.
“I feel very blessed to have that opportunity.”
Edmondson was hired recently as the head women’s coach at SC4 after one season as an assistant. The 1993 Port Huron graduate has coached in some capacity at multiple levels since returning to the area following her collegiate basketball career at Michigan State University.
Edmondson has also spent time coaching — and competing in — roller derby. Believe it or not, she seems the similarities between the sports.
“It translates a lot – except you’re rolling,” she said. “There are a lot of picks … court awareness, timing – I love it. Except, I don’t have to run, I skate.”
Edmondson has been the head coach for a week, but has been running offseason training for the program longer than that. She said she started handling the duties after Whymer informed her she would be taking the Wayne State job back in July.
“I’ve kind of just been running open gyms and filling in the gaps,” Edmondson said. “It’s been about a month. Joel, I still talk to him almost every other day. He’s been helping me along the way, making sure I have the information and sorting out some issues.
“He’s one of my biggest mentors in this. We talk quite regularly. Those girls are important to him.”
Five players return from the 2014-15 SC4 team that was 25-6 and co-champion of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association Eastern Conference. Edmondson said having an existing relationship with those players helps “tremendously” even if that relationship is changing a bit.
“The difficulty is them having seen me as more of a support for them, the mother of the team,” she said. “Now I’m shifting into that authority figure. I don’t think it will be very difficult.”
The Skippers have had three straight highly successful seasons, but Edmondson said she doesn’t see that as creating pressure on her, at least not on the court.
“I look at it as an opportunity,” she said. “You speak the school’s name and the tradition speaks for itself. The pressure I do feel is when recruiting, I have to keep that up. I have to continue bring in first of all good students, and second outstanding athletes.”