Kelsey Gregory wasn’t planning to be a coach.
However, that’s exactly what she’s become.
Then, she didn’t plan to be a head coach.
And now, the former Macon County High standout is transitioning from being an assistant coach to a head coach as she was recently named the head girls basketball coach at Davidson Academy.
“I think there’s always been a part of me that thought I would coach, but I never wanted to be a teacher,” Gregory said. “That was the part that was holding me back from being a coach. Deep down, I’ve always known I wanted to be a coach. I’ve been around coaches. I’ve seen the impact coaches can make.
“To pour into young adults is where my heart is at. That’s what coaching is, especially at the high-school level.”
Gregory helped the Tigerette program to state runner-up finishes in 2011 and again in 2013, which was her senior season.
She signed with Lipscomb University, and after a redshirt season with the Lady Bisons, she transitioned into a student-assistant-coaching role due to injuries.
When she graduated, she served as the program’ director of operations for two seasons.
“I went through a season of life in college where I was kind of pursuing PT (physical therapy) or physician’s assistant,” Gregory said. “My injury happened, and I realized I wasn’t ready to give up basketball just yet. I’ve been around basketball my whole life. I was thinking about the impact all of my coaches have had on me.
“In college, when I went through those injuries, I thought that’s where it’s at for me … that’s where the Lord is calling me to shine. From there, I wanted to stay at the college level, because I had my foot in the door. I enjoyed it.”
However, with time, Gregory’s desire changed.
“I decided I wanted more of the relationship side of it,” Gregory said. “I wanted to work with high-school girls. I got into the high-school level. I thought, ‘I think the assistant-coaching world is where it’s at for me.
“The past two months, the Lord just put it on my heart … ‘Kelsey, you’re ready to be a head coach. You’ve been a leader your whole life. You’ve been mentored by wonderful coaches.’ So, I think it has been a goal. I think I’m just now accepting it.”
Gregory has spent the past two seasons coaching under Dan Wilkerson at Nashville Christian.
Gregory chose NCS despite other schools previously pursuing her as a head coach.
“My heart was just telling me go with Nashville Christian,” Gregory said. “There was a reason for that. I worked under Dan Wilkerson. He was a great mentor, and I’ve made a life-long relationship with him.
“It wasn’t right (to be a head coach) at the moment (two years ago). The one at Davidson feels right.”
Gregory has been a physical-education instructor and had some athletic-administration duties as well.
On the court, the Lady Eagles combined for 42 wins over those two campaigns and compiled a 24-7 mark in Division II-Class A District 4.
Davidson Academy and Nashville Christian are district foes.
“That made the decision hard, having to compete against a coach you respect and your old players who you love and care for as well,” Gregory said. “It gave me some insight with Davidson. I know what the district is like.”
The Lady Bears finished 10-9 in 2020-21 and 7-8 in district play. It was their first winning season since 2016-17 campaign.
“It will be somewhat of a program I need to build,” Gregory said. “We have the girls to get it done. We have some girls who are athletes. I’m excited to see what we’re capable of doing.”
Davidson Academy — which has been coached by Adrian Williamson (who resigned to pursue a career in real estate) for the past two years — has made one appearance in the state tournament, in 2009 (suffering a 40-38 loss to eventual state champion Bishop Byrne in the semifinal round).
Gregory is currently in search of an assistant coach.
“I’m super excited,” Gregory — who will also serve as the girls middle-school athletic director and a strength and conditioning coach — said. “I never thought at 26 I would be accepting a head-coaching job. If you asked me, I’d have been like, ‘Oh yeah, at 32, I’ll accept one.’
“When you trust your training … I’ve been around great coaches. I know the game. I’ve played it. I was caught off guard. They reached out to me. I was content. They were pursuing me. I think the Lord was telling me that I was too content and comfortable where I was at. I think I’m more than ready for it. I have great mentors and people on my side who will help guide me through it.”