Lathan returns to court, takes over at TSA


Woody Lathan had knee replacement surgery in February, so he figures it's about time he gets back on the basketball court. Well, at least on the sidelines.

Lathan, who has been the boys basketball head coach at three local SCISA schools but hasn't coached since the 2001-02 season, will be the head coach at Thomas Sumter Academy.

"I interviewed for the job here about two or three years ago," Lathan said. "Someone else got it and that's fine. I got a call from them - I was surprised - and asked me if I'd like to interview.

"I talked with (headmaster) Mr. (Frank) Martin) and athletic director Zach Robertson, and we were able to work things out. I'm looking forward to it."

Lathan, who was a standout player at Wilson Hall in the mid 1970s, got his first varsity head coaching job at Laurence Manning Academy in the 1991-92 season. He stayed there for four years before becoming the head coach at Sumter Catholic.

He was there for one season because the school was in its last year of existence due to being shut down by the Archdiocese in Charleston. He led Sumter Catholic to the SCISA 3A semifinals a year after doing the same with LMA.

After taking a year off, he became the head coach at Robert E. Lee Academy, coaching there for five years.

"I stepped down following the 2001-02 season so I could follow (son) Claude, and all he was doing with basketball," Lathan said.

Lathan takes over a program that won seven games a year ago. He admits the game has changed some since he was last a head coach, but some things are still the same.

"There are three things that haven't changed - desire, discipline and defense," Lathan said. "We're going to be a defensive team, and you have to have desire and discipline to do that.

"As far as the rest of it, I don't coach one particular way or style. I coach the way that best fits my players."