Sampson named new Springwood girls basketball coach

Published 9:52 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2019

LANETT — Lisa Sampson has been around basketball all her life, and now she’s bringing her experience to Springwood School.

On Tuesday morning, the local AISA program announced the hiring of Sampson to become the newest girls head basketball coach. 

“I am very excited about the opportunity,” Sampson said. “Having been out of coaching on the high school level for some time, [I’m] really excited to be able to get back to it at Springwood School.”

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Sampson coached an AAU girl’s team in Birmingham for five years, guiding players spanning from seventh grade through 11th grade. Eight of the 112 players she coached within that span received college scholarships.

She is currently the president of the Auburn Raptors AAU organization, a program that has produced local athletes like 2019 Beulah graduates Lonzie Portis and Kensley Taylor as well as LaFayette senior Jordan Wallace and Chambers Academy junior Payton Allen.

“It has been tremendous,” Sampson said of her stint with the Raptors. “We have taken a club that has been around now going on 11 years. In the past two years, we have competed on the Adidas circuit and had some success. We’re talking about players from Auburn and the surrounding areas, so I’m just very proud of that and proud of the way we’re doing it. We focus on more than just basketball, we focus on character, the importance of grades, helping these kids get to the next level whether it’s through basketball or academics. We’re proud of the ability to give back to a game that gave me so much.”

Sampson is the daughter of Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Joe Ciampi. Serving as a Division I women’s head basketball coach for 27 years, Ciampi finished his career with a 607-231 record. 

He led Auburn University to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances, including three consecutive Final Four appearances that Sampson was a part of.

“I graduated from Lee-Scott Academy,” she said. “I was planning to go to a smaller school to play ball and get out of Auburn to make my own stamp, and I received a recruiting letter from my dad offering me a scholarship, and he signed it ‘dad.’ I knew that I had to take on that challenge, and it was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done and the best thing that I’ve ever done.”

At Springwood, Sampson is replacing former headmaster Rick Johnson in the role. Johnson has accepted a position as the Head of School at Harvester Christian Academy in Douglasville, Georgia. Johnson led the Wildcats to a 30-0 record in 2016 to win the AISA AA championship.

Sampson said she looks forward to watching the current Wildcats play to implement her defensive-minded system.

“[I use] the same principles that my dad would use, staying with the matchup zone, with the press, taking advantage defensively,” she said. “As long as I’ve got players with heart, that understand the team concept and what their job is, I think that we’re going to see some success.”