VALDOSTA -- Lowndes High School will be keeping its girls basketball coaching job in the family for another year.

Stacy Dickey, a former Vikette player, varsity assistant coach and sub-varsity coach, will serve as the girls varsity head coach for the 2003-04 season, school officials said Monday.

Dickey becomes the program's interim coach as the Vikettes go for a fifth-straight region championship. She replaces another former Vikette, Laine Craven, who resigned this summer due to family reasons.

"This is what i was in coaching for, why I got involved in the first place," said Dickey, a 1994 graduate of Lowndes High who has spent all but one of her coaching seasons in the Lowndes system. "This was one of my goals in life."

Dickey, the former Stacy Cothron, began as a community coach with the Vikettes while she was in college. She coached under Craven and her predecessor, current boys head coach Cliff Ranew.

She's taken qualities from both of her former bosses.

"Cliff has a very strong work ethic and stresses fundamentals. He knows quite a bit about basketball," said Dickey. "Laine does a good job with fundamentals. But I also learned from her how to get along with the girls on a personal basis and how to deal with certain situations."

Then she adds her own touches.

"I'm going to work fundamentals to the end," Dickey said. "I think I have pretty good strategy, and I don't mind scouting. I like to watch other teams. I can make adjustments in game situations."

Dickey, 27, said it took a couple of days this summer to choose to pursue the job.

"I was taking four classes at VSU trying to work on my masters, and I knew I'd have to hold back on my masters if i decided to take on such a large job," she said.

"I knew I had done the best as I could as an assistant, and I felt confident about the job I was doing in that position. But i wasn't absolutely positve I had all the experience necessary to step up and be the head coach."

She sold the school administration.

"She's got a good rapport with the kids and a hard worker," said Lowndes athletic director Randy McPherson. "She interviewed real well and she has a lot to offer Lowndes High girls basketball."

If things work out, she'd like to pursue the job on a full-time basis.

"I'm going to take it this year and see how it goes," Dickey said. "I assume everything is going to go well. If everything turns out well and I'm satisfied and the girls are satisfied then i'll defintely look into interviewing next year."

Dickey took charge this summer, taking the Vikettes to two summer camps.

"We did pretty well in both. I'm looking forward to a good season," Dickey said. "We're going to be young, but we looked good. We're going to be competitive this year. I'm looking forward to carrying on the winning tradition."

That tradition includes the continued domination of Region 1-AAAAA.

"There's no doubt that definitely that's our first goal, to win a region championship," she said. "We have girls who work really hard right now. If they keep working like they are right now, it's definitely not out of reach."

Not only does she face the lofty goals of her own program, but success in her own household.

Her husband, Jared, took over the highly successful Lowndes girls fast-pitch softball program last fall and took it to new heights -- a second-place finish in the state tournament.

The couple has a one-year-old daughter, Kayden.

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