Don’t let anyone ever tell you that hard work and determination don’t pay off. For MCHS Senior Calamity Jane Coley, she is going to get to benefit from some of her blood, sweat, and tears.
This week Calamity Coley signed a full scholarship with Cumberland University to play basketball. The scholarship covers everything, including room and board, meals, and tuition. The event marks the fulfillment of a dream she has had for a long time.
Cumberland is a four year liberal arts school which was founded in 1843 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. At one time the Cumberland School of Law was said to have had more of its alumni elected to the US Congress than any other school in the South. Unfortunately, the football program holds a share of the dubious record for the most lopsided football score in college football history, a 222-0 defeat in 1919 at the hands of John Heisman’s Georgia Tech squad.
Cumberland competes in the Mid-South Conference in the Western Division. They play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) which is made up of smaller colleges and universities across the United States.
Calamity is the daughter of Marty and Connie Coley and she has been playing basketball for a long time. “We have had such a great group of girls, who have stuck together and played together, which made us all better players.” Calamity and three others from the MCHS Senior Class of 2012 helped guide the girls’ basketball team to the AA State Finals last season. Calamity remembered, “My most treasured memory in basketball is stepping out on that court, in that moment. I hope some little girls around here get to experience that one day too.”
Marty and Connie taught Calamity early that she could do what she wanted, if she stuck to it and worked hard. “We always thought she had some ability, so we just encouraged her to work hard and do her best, in basketball or 4-H or whatever she did,” said Marty. “We are just so proud that through all of the adversity Calamity has been through (playing basketball); she has never given up, never quit, and never lost sight of what she wanted to do,” remarked Connie.
Cumberland hasn’t lost sight either. Women’s Head Coach Jeremy Lewis thinks that he knows what kind of prospect he has just landed. “We were able to see Calamity play and were impressed with her size, skill, and feel for the game. There are a few things that we can get better with, but there are some innate things that you just cannot teach.” In his fourth year at the helm, Coach Lewis expects Calamity to fit right in with the style of basketball at Cumberland. “We like to pound it inside and play solid defense.”
MCHS Coach Jeff Beam says goodbye to his co-district MVP this season. “Calamity is the type of player that doesn’t come along very often. Cumberland just won the lottery.” When asked what he thought made her the player she is, he quickly remarked about her work ethic. “The work ethic that Calamity has had in her high school career is the same thing that will make her a really good collegiate basketball player.”
Calamity was contacted by quite a few schools. Mercer, Trevecca, Austin Peay, and quite a few junior colleges all expressed interest in getting her to play with them. However, Calamity likes the Cumberland campus and the small town atmosphere in Lebanon. She wants to major in a pre-pharmacy field of study.
Dreaming of becoming a collegiate basketball player? One Macon County native can show you the roadway to that dream and can honestly tell you what it takes to get there. I can remember my grandfather telling me that hard work never hurts anyone. I know having watched Calamity Coley for the past few years that the best fruits of her hard work, may be still to come.