Six years after completing an outstanding playing career at Logan County High School, Croslin will be directing the fortunes of the Lady Cougars' crosstown rival for what she hopes will be many years to come.
Dedra Croslin, 24, was named head coach of the Russellville Lady Panthers last week, making her one of the youngest head coaches in Kentucky.
"They trusted me to be a classroom teacher when I was even younger, and that's a big responsibility, too" she said Friday.
John Myers says Croslin is ready for the job. "We had several outstanding applicants and all of them would have done a good job," the RHS athletic director/assistant principal said. "Dedra is the best fit for our girls and out girls basketball program.
"She's done an outstanding job in the classroom and will take the same work ethic to the basketball court."
Actually, Croslin has already been coaching. She was assistant basketball coach at RHS under Sgt. Jim Austin in 2002-03 season and under Stephen Guthrie this season.
She also is interim volleyball coach at RHS, having succeeded Coach Maydeen Bailey in the classroom and on the volleyball court when Bailey retired in October.
"I've always wanted to teach and coach, but I decided that with a small child and so much involved in getting a teacher's certificate, I would major in exercise physiology instead," she said. "Now I'm on a fast track toward getting my teaching certificate while I teach."
Darlene Lamb, a veteran teacher who is helping her learn the profession, joins Myers is praising Croslin as an effective teacher and willing learner.
In basketball she brings enthusiasm and a lot of playing experience to the game, along with an innate ability to get along with her players.
She was part of one of Lewisburg's best-ever middle school teams before coming to LCHS where she was starting by the end of her freshman year. She was named all-district three years.
She played her college ball for the Lady Saints of Shawnee Community College in Illinois.
She gave up the game for a while to spend more time with her grandmother, who was suffering from Lou Gehrig's Disease.
At Western Kentucky University her senior year she completed 23 college hours while working 40 hours per week and taking care of her daughter, Brea, now 3.
"I have a great support team behind me, especially my parents," she says of Don and Kay Basham. Donnie Basham is best known for having officiated basketball for many years. After being in retail management, Kay is operating a day care center now.
The support also comes from Myers, Principal Jennifer Kelly, assistant coaches Roger Daniel and Tammy Ryan, and basketball coaches Dennis Pardue and Greg Owens along with long-time girls coach Matt Tipton.
"I love the people I work for and I love the people here," she says.
Croslin believes she has the nucleus of an outstanding basketball team at RHS. The Lady Panthers didn't lose a starter this year, and some outstanding sophomores are the nucleus of the team. A freshman and a couple of junior high players are also big in her plans, along with some athletic juniors.
"I honestly believe that we can put a team on the floor next year that will force out opponents to guard all five players," she says.
To get more people to attend more girls games is one reason Russellville will have 14 or 15 girl-boy doubleheaders next year. There were only four scheduled this year when Pardue and Myers came on the scene.
She also has plans to get more involved in building the program through the middle school and elementary schools along with camps.
"I appreciate the committee putting faith in me and choosing me for this job," Dedra Croslin says. "It makes me want to work that much harder.