Rich cheers young women on field and off

Published 2:16 pm Friday, July 7, 2023

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Corsheka Rich, cheer coach for Central High School in Hayneville and Hayneville Middle School, did not start her career intending to coach. In fact, the teacher, with a background in business management and human resources, did not set out to be a teacher either. 

But two years after signing on to teach science and social studies at Hayneville Middle, Rich uses her own life experiences  in mentoring the young women she teaches and coaches.

“As a teenager, I cheered,” Rich said. “Then, as my children grew up, I was ‘cheer mom’ and I assisted in coaching. Then when I came here, they were looking for someone and I was like, ‘Oh, no. Not me.’ But they eventually asked me.

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“I was sort of on my own growing up. So, I like to help, talking about problems in life and growing up, the things they shouldn’t do, having a moral compass and refusal of sexual activity. I have that and that’s why [school administrators] came to me and asked me. Kids come to me about a lot of things and I have a safe space for them, especially the girls.”

The Evergreen native graduated high school in 1998 and did not immediately complete college. She worked for her family’s property management company for 13 years before earning her associate’s degree in business management and bachelor’s degree in business administration from Alabama State University (ASU). She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in biology at ASU.

Rich worked as a substitute teacher before receiving an offer to teach social studies and later science at Hayneville Middle. The teacher said she values the opportunity to be the adult she needed in her life as a young woman.

“As a child who grew up and actually what I called ‘made it out without perishing and falling apart,’ is something that I use to help other kids,” Rich said. “I was a teen parent, so I speak to girls about sexual activity, letting them know they don’t have to do it. I talk to them about things they can do to become better and that’s why they came to me and asked me to coach.”

Lowndes County Athletic Director Nickles Rankins said Rich is a coach who gives student athletes her all.

“I asked her to coach middle school,” Rankins said. “It went from her coaching middle school to high school as well. She’s at all the middle school basketball and football games, high school football and basketball too. I love the mentorship and what she puts into each young lady. She spends hours trying to show them how to be better and to be successful in life. So, when it comes to her, she gives 100% of her whole life.”

Rich said she began her term as coach from the ground up. She and the girls worked to build the squad, raise money for uniforms, and train to support their teams with pride.

“I had a meeting with the girls,” Rich said. “They didn’t have a coach at all and they were so excited. They didn’t care who I was. They fell into place. They wanted me to be there. They loved on me and in return, I just kind of fell into it.”

According to Rankins, Rich is invaluable to the students she coaches.

“At first it wasn’t her thing, but now it is her purpose,” he said. “She’s one of the best coaches that I’ve got. She gives it her all, even throughout the summer. She’s doing the work to keep the girls engaged and focused on their goals.”

This fall, Rich will transition to The Calhoun School, where she will teach career preparedness. She said she will also continue coaching cheer at Central and Hayneville Middle.

“I do my best to teach them how to respond in the classroom and who they are supposed to be outside school,” Rich said. “I want them to know who they are supposed to be when they leave, and to teach them team camaraderie. I want them to know how to be a part of each other and to help each other out.”