After nearly two months of searching girls basketball candidates after Tobin McCammon resigned, the Greenbrier Lady Panthers have a new coach.
Payton Edmondson of Valley View has been hired, which was made official at Tuesday's school board meeting.
“We had a lot of interest,” Greenbrier athletic director Stephen Wood said. “We had a lot who applied that are a lot like [Edmondson] in the sense that they are younger. We wanted a coach who will make an impact.
“We had a lot references from areas he has coached in and they don’t want to lose him. We have also had opposing coaches give us good recommendations for him.”
While Edmonson is young, he has experience in coaching different sports l in three years at Walnut Ridge High School, including stints as its girls basketball coach, softball coach and a part of the football staff.
From there, he transitioned as head junior varsity girls basketball coach at Valley View the for the next two years.
“He brings a lot of energy, basketball knowledge and has an energy and passion for basketball,” Wood said. “We had a lot of great coaches apply, but he really stood out to us in the applicant pool.”
Edmondson said Greenbrier has been an attractive destination for some time.
“I graduated from UCA (2013) , so it was a place that I kept my eye on as a place I would like to end up one day,” he said. “My wife and I have family around Greenbrier and it is a great school district with a lot of success in other sports. I hope we can bring that to girls basketball.”
Edmondson said he and Wood’s view on how to change the program is similar.
“I have a lot of experience with places that have needed a culture change,” he said. "Coach Wood and I agreed about wanting to bring more success and how we would go about doing that.”
Wood said the goal is to bring up the basketball team.
“Our goal is to make girls basketball more important in the community and bring more energy and new ideas to the team,” he said. “We want him to keep some of the girls we have now and get more girls to play.”
Though Edmondson hasn’t met the girls on the team, he has plans to change a struggling Greenbrier team that has won just eight games in two seasons.
“I want to create some confidence in the girls,” he said. “I haven’t met them yet, but I know they have struggled the last few years. I want to bring that competitiveness back and get back to state tournaments.”
Though Edmondson has a background coaching in several sports, Wood said Edmondson will solely coach girls basketball.
“He will be the senior high coach, but also see over the girls basketball programs from seventh grade through 12th, just like coach [Mike] Simmons and coach [Randy] Tribble does with football.”
Wood said Edmonson promotes his athletes to play in other sports, which the school emphasizes.
Overall, Wood is happy with the decision and is looking forward to where Edmondson leads the team.
“We’re excited to have him,” he said. “He’s going to try to come down when he can to meet with our girls and hold tryouts after school is out. He wants to be here and get started, but he still has duties to fulfill at Valley View.”
Edmondson will begin his duties at Greenbrier after the current school year concludes.