Burleson back on court as Oakman girls coach

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 8/20/18

OAKMAN — Brannon Burleson was looking to get back into coaching.

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Burleson back on court as Oakman girls coach


OAKMAN — Brannon Burleson was looking to get back into coaching.

The longtime coach was going over his options earlier this month when he got a call from Oakman Principal Patrick Gann, who was searching for a girls head basketball coach.

“When he called, it was almost instant,” said Burleson, who was planning on teaching at Curry High School this year before Gann’s call. “It caught me off guard. He said, ‘Would you like to coach girls basketball? I said, ‘Actually, I do.’ I can’t say that if anybody else called I would’ve said yes.”

Now, nearly four years since he last coached the varsity girls basketball team at Curry High School, Burleson is a head coach once again, this time at Oakman. He was officially hired at the Walker County Board of Education meeting on July 12.

Burleson coached Curry’s girls basketball team in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. He was also an assistant for the Yellow Jackets’ softball team during their championship season in 2014. He continued teaching at Curry until taking a job at the Walker County Board of Education in 2017.

“Once you do it, you are always a coach. Being out of it was different for me,” Burleson said.

At Oakman he takes over for MaKenzie Burgett. Burgett amassed a 43-41 record in her three-year tenure, leading the Lady Wildcats to a Walker County Tournament championship last year and an area championship in the 2016-17 season. Oakman also made trips to the sub-region playoffs each of Burgett’s first two seasons. The Wildcats finished the season 15-13 last year, losing to Carbon Hill in the area tournament at Hanceville High School.

Oakman lost top scorer Heather Thompson from last year’s team, but returns three of its top four scorers — Chante Williams (9.6 ppg), Iyana Canada (9.4 ppg) and Alaisha Hubbard (7.6 ppg).

The Wildcats will compete in Class 3A, Area 10 with Carbon Hill, Winfield and Lamar County.

“I’m excited to be back on the court. It’s a new challenge. I think there is a lot of potential here,” Burleson said. “I knew those kids at Curry because I had coached them in softball. That was a natural progression. This is a different ball game. I’m coming into this one cold. I don’t know the kids and they don’t know me. It will take me a little while to get back into the swing of things.”