TISHOMINGO, OK -- Murray State College has a new head women’s basketball coach. The College has hired Justin Cellum to lead the Lady Aggies starting in the 2014-1015 season.
Rooting for Aggies won’t be new for Cellum. He spent the last several years at Cameron University where he received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and his master’s. At Cameron, Cellum served as a student assistant for the women’s basketball team for one year and a graduate assistant. After graduation he remained with the Aggies as an assistant coach.
Cellum says he enjoyed his time at Cameron.
“I worked on a great staff under Coach Tom Webb,” says Cellum. “From Coach Webb, I learned a lot not only about basketball, but life. I was fortunate to coach a special group of players and together we experienced many accomplishments on and off the basketball court.”
So what brought him to Murray State College?
“Well, first of all…it’s home,” says Cellum.
Cellum, and his wife Tori, are both Tishomingo natives. Coming back to coach at Murray State is coming home for the Cellums who welcomed their first child this year. Their son, Carter, just turned 6 weeks old.
MSC Athletic Director Zach Crabtree says getting someone who was invested in the not only the College, but the community was important in the selection process.
“One of the things I was concerned about was getting someone who would be here for a while,” says Crabtree. “We want someone who wants to settle in and build a program, and I think in Justin we’ve got that.”
Cellum says that he’s always wanted to be a head coach, and he is excited to get started at MSC. In fact, he’s already started building his team for next year. He has a core of five players from the current team who will be back in the fall. Freshmen Ebony Harrison, Ashley O’Dell, Tierani Richardson, Devyn Johnson and Audrelique White will all be returning to play for Cellum. Now he’s looking for new players.
“As soon as I took the job, I was on the phone talking to our players here to see what their plans were,” he says. “I’ve also been looking at some players who had already expressed an interest in MSC before I got here, and also players that I was already interested in.”
Cellum says he’s looking for quality student athletes who are serious about achieving goals on and off the court. He also wants players who will buy into his “team first” philosophy, and he says it’s part of his job as a coach to make sure that they do.
“I want players who will represent themselves and MSC with pride,” says Cellum. “I want strong individual players who will fit inside what I see that our team needs.”
Crabtree says he expects Cellum to work hard to establish his coaching philosophy in this team, and in the College. He says he expects Cellum to be a motivated and driven coach, calling him “very professional and very organized.” Crabtree hopes to see the stands fill up to cheer on Cellum in his Lady Aggies.
“If he builds a program like we know he’s capable of, then that will take care of itself,” says Crabtree.” “This is his first head coaching job. We hired him based on the coach we think he’s going to be and I think he’ll work really hard to achieve that.”