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17 April 2008
Former JSU Standout--Gulf South Conf. Freshman of the Year/All- Academic Team Named New JHS Coach

By Jennifer Bacchus
News Staff Writer

JHS basketball players spend a little quality time with new coach Anthony Kingston. From left, Jake Lyons, Kingston, Tristan Garmon and Jordan Shelvin go over strategy. Photo: Anita Kilgore

Reprinted here in its entirety.

New Coach Named for JHS

The Jacksonville City Board of Education named Anthony Kingston, the school system’s technology director, as the new Jacksonville High School boys’ basketball coach during their meeting on April 8.

Kingston was thrilled with the vote of confidence from the board and is looking forward to working with the team to build not only a strong athletic program, but also a group of true student-athletes.

“Thrilled, scared, anxious, nervous, the whole gamut of emotions, but yes, I am thrilled,” said Kingston.

Kingston has played basketball for much of his life, playing at home and then in organized parks and recreation leagues before moving on to high school ball then college ball at Jacksonville State University.

He played at JSU for four years from 1990 to 1993. During that time, the JSU team had an 88-23 record. During his first year on the team, he was named the Gulf South Conference Freshman of the year and he was named to the first team all-conference team in his senior year. Those honors, however, pale for Kingston in comparison to the two years he was named to the Gulf South All-Academic team. He hopes to instill that same focus on grades first into his players.

“I’m a competitor, I want to win. However, I see a bigger picture. I want to develop these kids into the best student-athletes they can be first, then make them be pretty, hopefully, decent basketball players,” said Kingston.

After college, Kingston played pro ball in Luxembourg where he coached a younger team as part of his contract.

Since returning to Jacksonville and starting a family, Kingston’s greatest joy on the court has been coaching his daughter, Kira, and helping with the formation of Jacksonville PARD’s first all-girl basketball league.

He now looks forward to working with the Parks and Recreation Department in a different way, helping with basketball camps and watching the young ones who play the sport with an eye on who will be an asset for his team in a few years.

Never one to sit idle, Kingston has been very involved in the community and he is saddened that many of the responsibilities he has taken on will have to be handed off to someone else so that he can concentrate on growing a well-rounded team.

“I’ll have church, family and my work, which includes technology and basketball. I’m chipping everything else away,” said Kingston.

In his work responsibilities, he will soon have some help in the form of DeAnna Peck, who the board appointed as district technology teacher. Peck will spend a large portion of her day teaching students how to properly use the technology available to them and will also be working with Kingston to troubleshoot network problems and the teachers of the system to build a curriculum to work with new technology.

“What is exciting to me is that she has that classroom experience, she has technical experience and she will really be able to work with our curriculum teams,” said Superintendent of Schools, Eric Mackey.

Also during the meeting, Mackey updated the board on the progress of the new mini gym at Kitty Stone Elementary School. As construction workers from JF Morgan began work on the gym’s foundation they found buried construction debris, which had to be removed and proper soil for a foundation put in its place.

Following that discovery, the group also uncovered an abandoned well.

“Since the board meeting, we found one more issue with the soil and that is there is an old well actually buried out there,” said Mackey in an interview Monday. “It’s dry, but this is an old hand-dug well, probably more than a century old. So, even though it has been kept and it is dry, we have to dig it out and fix it like it should be.”

The discoveries will add an additional $5,000 to the cost of the gym’s construction, but Mackey feels confident that cost-saving options they have found will offset the expense and both the mini-gym and the seventh-grade addition at Jacksonville High School will come in at or below the project’s $1.9 million budget.

Also during the meeting, the board:

• Recognized the Kitty Stone Elementary Science Olympiad Team, which won the Science Olympiad held at Jacksonville High School for the fifth year in a row.

• Held the second reading of the code of student conduct. Board Vice President Sue Jones asked to have the code state the school system is able to discipline students for improper behavior during after-school activities on school property. The board expects to approve the final code of student conduct at their next meeting, which is scheduled for May 13 at 6:30. A work session is scheduled for that day at 5:30.

About Jennifer Bachus

Jennifer Bacchus is a staff writer at The Jacksonville News. She can be reached at 256-435-5021 or via e-mail at

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