Knight brings championship mentality to Lady Trojans

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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New Charles Henderson girls’ basketball coach LaKenya Knight brings a championship legacy to one of the best girls’ basketball programs in the state.

Last week, Knight was hired to replace longtime Lady Trojan coach Dyneshia Jones-Elder, who is the winngest girls’ basketball coach in school history and has left a legacy at CHHS that will be hard to replace. Jones-Elder recorded a record of 433-223 and won two state championships along with reaching the Final Four nine times.

Filling those shoes would be difficult for anyone but Knight brings her own storied legacy to Charles Henderson. The Cairo, Ga., native has more than 400-career wins – in both boys and girls basketball – to go along with two state championships of her own.

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After becoming one of the top girls’ basketball coaches in the state, Knight made history by becoming the first female coach in AHSAA history to be named head boys’ basketball coach when Jeff Davis moved her to the boys side of the game.

“There wasn’t any difference for me,” Knight said of coaching boys and girls. “Xs and Os are Xs and Os and it doesn’t matter who you’re teaching it to and it doesn’t matter who it’s coming from. The only real difference was the speed of the game.”

Knight’s decision to come to Troy, though, came after initially contemplating retirement after a long, successful coaching career.

“After I resigned (from Jeff Davis) last week, I had just finished up 25 years, I was going to take some time and enjoy these last couple of years and retire,” Knight said. “Then, (Charles Henderson Assistant Principal Angelo) Wheeler called me, he and I went to school together, and he asked me to just come down and look. I decided to come down and look and I thought maybe I should come do this.”

Knight said she knows she has big shoes to fill, replacing Jones-Elder at CHHS, despite her own success over the past two decades.

“It’s some pretty big shoes to fill,” Knight emphasized. “I’m coming from Montgomery and Coach Jones knew those kids really well, so they bought into her. I have to come in and try to get them to buy into me and to my system.”

Knight said she also knows that Charles Henderson has the type of winning tradition she’s used to and said she plans to continue to build on that.

“A state championship,” Knight flatly said when asked what her goals were. “I don’t toot my own horn but the legacy at Charles Henderson is about championships and that’s the only thing I know, to win state championships. That’s my ultimate goal, to get Charles Henderson a state championship.”