Reidsville has a new women’s basketball coach. Rams Athletic Director Joe Walker confirmed that DeAnna Solomon, a physical education teacher at Reidsville Senior High School, has accepted the head coaching position which has been vacant since former head coach Derrick Johnson retired at the end of the 2018-2019 season.
Walker said that after an extensive search, he said Solomon is the right person for the job.
“For us, we thought we needed someone that was in the building. That was one of the things that we really looked for. We wanted someone that can recruit from within and help the girls out. She’s a former Rams basketball player and knows all of the students here. We thought that she has a way about her to where she can get kids to come out and play. It just seemed like her time now and I think she is going to do really well working with our young ladies,” Walker said.
A 2006 Reidsville graduate, Solomon was a four-year varsity starter for the Lady Rams and she earned her stripes as a jack-of-all trades type player on the court.
A former Mid-State 2A All-Conference award winner in high school, she played primarily small forward and guard, but she said she felt comfortable playing every position on the court.
She played under Keith Nance for three years and Jeff Page during her senior season and would go on to play intramural basketball at Winston-Salem State University where she received her degree following her high school graduation.
Solomon says she relishes the opportunity to coach at her alma mater, and being a former player and understanding the culture of the county and the Mid-State 2A Conference rivalries should give her an edge.
“It actually feels good to come back and give to a place that I came from . . . just the passion that I have for the game will make me a better coach, not necessarily understanding the rivals, but being a Ram is special and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Solomon said.
Prior to accepting her current job, Solomon was an assistant soccer coach, assistant JV boy’s basketball coach and a head JV volleyball coach at Reidsville as well, so she’s not necessarily your average rookie.
Solomon is planning a team meeting next week to make introductions to the players, and she says she’s confident everyone from last season’s squad is coming back.
“I’ve actually talked to a couple of them already and things are going well, so we will be meeting on Monday — I think they are all ready to roll.”
Changing of the Guard
Her predecessor’s retirement was something many did not see coming.
Prior to leaving the program, Johnson was named the Mid-State 2A Conference Co-Coach of the Year, an honor he shared with North Carolina School of Science & Math’s Taurean Newton. He closed out his final season at Reidsville with an overall record of 49-46.
Johnson took over for Casey Elrod at the beginning of the 2015-2016 season, and guided the Lady Rams to the Mid-State 2A Conference championship.
His second season was a rebuilder, after losing a core of talent from the previous senior class, where RHS finished at 5-21. The Lady Rams steadily improved from that point forward, going 11-14 in 2017-2018 and they closed out Johnson’s final season at 18-8 and made it to the second round of the 2A NCHSAA state playoffs.
A Fresh Start
Solomon inherits a solid program, as all five starters, including Mid-State 2A All Conference players Amani Smalls and Jada Artis, are slated to come back for the 2019-2020 season.
She followed the team very closely over the years and knows a lot of talent is coming back. Solomon’s main goal is to get the most she can from her players.
“My expectations — I just want the girls to get out there and give it their all. I know that they have the talent and I know they have the work ethic, but I just want them to give me their all regardless, winning or losing. Just give me their all.”