For twenty years Calvin Brown has wrapped up one practice only to lead another. This is life as the girls and boys basketball coach at East Marion High.
"The job brought me here," Brown said. "Didn't know where Columbia was on the map. Just heard they needed a head coach."
In Brown, East Marion found a coach who has been able to create a vision and maintain belief in it. As a result, for the first time ever, Brown will lead both girls and boys squad to Jackson for the state tournament.
"That's the vision I had in 98-99 when I signed my first contract," Brown said. "No clue how to get it done. Just belief, faith in God and knew I had a strong work ethic."
Brown's passion for the game is another factor. This isn't lost on his players.
"I mean he lose sleep over this," East Marion senior guard Ja'Mario Marsalis said . "He love it. So if he can lose a little sleep why not us? So just work hard for him. Doing it for him and our pride for East Marion."
The double duty that Brown takes on may seem daunting to some. To him, it's just basketball with one difference.
"The game is the same," he said. "It's just different emotions. You have to connect on a different level. With guys you can cater to their ego. With girls you gotta connect to their heart. That's the only difference. The rest is just basketball. The ball is round and it's still a ten foot goal."
Lady Eagles senior Amber Willis has been able see Brown's character in how he handles both teams.
"It says something about his character and how well rounded he is as a person that he can coach girls and boys," Willis said. "So that's a good quality as a coach.
For twenty years Brown has worked to get East Marion girls and boys basketball to the state level. The time has finally arrived.
"I know the race is not to the swift.," Brown said. "I knew it would be a long term project. Have been tempted at times to jump ship (and) go to a bigger school or a more storied program. But at the end of the day God always told me to just stay the course and eventually I feel like it's going to happen."