James Asberry has coached basketball for Tulsa Public Schools for many years. He is currently the girls’ head basketball coach at Memorial High School, but that isn't only way he is serving his community. He also works for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
“As a law enforcement officer, I have had an opportunity to protect and serve my community in a unique manner. I see daily the struggles kids are experiencing growing up in a society where social media dictates their social sustainability. I see the effects of bullying and how building a kid’s confidence can have a positive impact on their lives,” he said. “As a Deputy Sheriff and coach, I get to contribute to their success outside of the gym through mentorship and inside the gym by instilling in them a good work ethic and discipline that supports their success.”
James has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for more than twenty years. In that time, James also coached middle school basketball and served as the girls’ head basketball coach at Webster High School from 2008 to 2015.
“These were some of my best years. Accepting this position allowed me an opportunity to put my footprint on a waning program. And I did just that. Not only did we turn the Webster program completely around, I was able to coach four of my daughters and in 2012 graduated eight seniors, with five of the eight receiving a combination of academic/athletic scholarships to attend college. We continued this winning tradition for five more years. At the end of the 2015 season, we finished with a record of 20-8 with a team comprised of only 6 players,” he said.
Unfortunately, trouble arose in James’s life that caused him to have to step away from his job at Webster. His wife was diagnosed with Lupus, and he was dedicated to helping her and their children during that difficult time.
“After my wife’s death, I ended my coaching tenure for what I thought was for good. But, after garnering some structure in [this] tumultuous journey, I applied for and was chosen as the Memorial High School Girls' Basketball Head Coach,” said James. “Tulsa Public Schools has afforded me some pretty amazing opportunities that I am very thankful for. [They] have stood by me through thick and thin. For that I am grateful.”
James said working at Memorial has been great.
“My players are like sponges, ready to soak up everything I have to offer. Their work ethic is second to none. My support staff is just as amazing. Last but not least, our school administrators are always lending a helping hand. I could not be more pleased,” he said.
James said the key to a successful career is to create a system that supports your strengths and stay committed to the process.
“Create goals, devise a plan, stick to the plan but be flexible as needed,” he said. “Surround yourself with people you trust, work on strengthening your deficiencies, and use your strengths to make a difference in the lives of others.”
When he isn’t working at Memorial or the Sheriff’s Office, he is focused on spending quality time with his family.
“I am passionate about family. I am the father of six daughters and one son. I am also a grandfather of two," he said. "As a father, I have a responsibility to give my children the tools needed to be caring and culpable citizens. I am committed to that process. Although my path has been arduous at times, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices."