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JCSU taps Stephen Joyner Jr. to coach women's basketball
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From left to right: JCSU Athletics Director Stephen Joyner Sr., newly named head women's basketball coach Stephen Joyner Jr. and JCSU President Ronald Carter at Thursday's announcement on the school's west Charlotte campus. (Photo: Glenn H. Burkins for Qcitymetro.com)

Stephen Joyner Jr., son of Johnson C. Smith University Athletics Director Stephen Joyner Sr., has been name the new head coach of the school’s women’s basketball team.

The younger Joyner returns to JCSU, his alma mater, from Winston-Salem State University, where spent two years as head women's basketball coach and posted back-to-back winning seasons and an overall record of 35 win and 21 losses. Before going to Winston-Salem State, he served as an assistant coach at Livingstone College and Florida A&M University.

JCSU official announced Joyner’s appointment at a Thursday afternoon press conference, marking an end to what school officials described as an extensive search to replace former JCSU women's coach Vanessa Taylor, who left earlier this year to head the women’s program at North Carolina Central in Durham. In 11 seasons at JCSU, Taylor compiled a 215-112 record and was three times named CIAA coach of the year.

JCSU President Ronald Taylor said Joyner brings “solid coaching experience” and a passion for women’s basketball.

Carter, was not a part of the selection committee, said he wanted candidate who could build a winning team but could also “articulate about the university’s vision and mission,” someone who understood that JCSU is undergoing a “radical transformation.”

“I am in dire need of another championship ring,” he quipped. “So I had to be convinced that the successful applicant could hit the ground running to make that happen.”

Joyner’s task almost certainly will not be easy. He inherits a shadow of the team that Taylor coached to the CIAA finals in each of the last two season. Seven seniors from that team have graduated last spring, including LaQwesha Gamble and Shavonda Price, who led the Lady Golden Bulls in scoring and rebounding. In fact, none of the five returning players was a starter or saw much playing time last season.

Joyner said he will spend the next month or so recruiting talented players who, for whatever reason, have not signed with a school.

“I anticipate having a good team,” he said. We are losing a lot, but at the same time we’re actually in the same situation I was in when I started at Winston-Salem State. You’re talking about a program that hadn’t won 10 ballgames in three or four years.”

Joyner graduated from Smith in 2001 and was one of the top point guards in the CIAA when he played on JCSU teams coached by his father.

When asked what it would be like to now essentially work for the man who raised and coached him, the younger Joyner downplayed the potential for any negatives.

“I’m excited about it,” he said. “You’re talking about a coach who has over 400 wins and has been able to survive in a business that can be cutthroat… So, to be able to sit up under someone like Steve Joyner Sr., to be able to learn from and have him critique me everyday…I think it’s an added plus for me to have someone with that experience that close to me.”

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October 7, 2015
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