Paul Edwards captured five state titles and rattled off 78 wins in a row as head basketball coach at Southwind Middle School in Memphis. So when Southwind High School opened in the fall of 2007, he was the natural choice to lead the basketball program.
Turns out, it was a pretty wise decision.
All Edwards has done is rattle off four 20-win seasons in a row and push the Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.)
program into the national spotlight. The 2012-13 campaign should be the best yet for the Jaguars behind the play of senior stars Johnathan Williams III
and JaJuan Johnson
"I think (the success) all stems from the middle school," Edwards said. "Even now, the middle school program is still good, probably one of the top teams in Memphis. It's a really good community with a lot of support and a lot to be proud of.
"The thing I'm most proud of is that all 18 seniors that have graduated from the program have scholarships – either basketball or academic."
Southwind will face a daunting schedule, but Edwards will stress to his team that the real challenge is at home. After a tournament win at the Rumble on the Ridge last November, the Jaguars entered the national rankings and stayed there all season. But things ended on a bitter note as a loss to Memphis East prevented them from reaching the state tournament.
City rival Ridgeway joined Southwind in the national rankings for much of the season and neither ended up winning a state title.
"In Memphis, it's so tough because there are so many good teams," said Edwards, whose team heads our Tennessee Preseason Basketball Fab 5
. "We are hungry and we feel like it is our time, I just hope we can stay healthy and catch some breaks."Southwind's last five years
2011-12 – 27-4 (Paul Edwards)
2010-11 – 26-5 (Paul Edwards)
2009-10 – 26-4 (Paul Edwards)
2008-09 – 22-8 (Paul Edwards)
2007-08 – 14-0 (Paul Edwards, school's first varsity season)