BASKETBALL

How Ellender uses the No. 6 basketball jersey to keep former coach Kenneth Dixon’s memory alive

Chris Singleton
The Courier

There are times when Jamia Singleton takes a moment to look at the Ellender basketball sideline during games.

The junior point guard is used to seeing her former coach Kenneth Dixon standing there  and shouting instructions.

But Dixon is no longer there. He died from complications of an aneurysm at age 70 on March 1, 2021. He led Ellender to five LHSAA state championships in 29 seasons.

Singleton said the players have missed their former coach, so they came up with a way to keep his memory alive this season.

“We put a No. 6 jersey on a chair our sideline,” Singleton said. “If we win a state championship this year, it would be his sixth ring. We want to do it for Coach Dixon. We just have to stand up for him and get it. I believe we can go all the way as long as we have that thought in our heads to do it for him. We have to keep pushing for it. We just have to come harder every game.”

Ellender athletics director and assistant girls basketball coach Gus Brown sits next to a chair with the No. 6 jersey during a game against South Lafourche on Jan. 21. The seat is to honor the memory of former Ellender coach Kenneth Dixon, who died at age 70 last year. The team wants to win the sixth state championship in school history for Dixon.

Senior forward Jasi Jenkins said Dixon played a major role in the lives of every player. They still talk about the lessons they learned about basketball and life from him.

“Coach Dixon passing last year was a tough loss for all of us,” Jenkins said. “We want to work hard every day for him. At practice, we have to do what we have to do because we can win it for him. We are that team. We just have to prove we are that team." 

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Javine Robinson, a former Ellender student who is in his first season as coach, said he supports the players mission of keeping Dixon’s legacy alive.  Dixon had a 724-258 career record with five state championships (1999, 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2017), two state runner-up titles (2001 and 2008) and 11 state tournament appearances.

Ellender (17-8) remains one of the best teams in the LHSAA. The Lady Patriots rank fifth in the LSWA Class 4A state power ratings.

“Coach Dixon is a legend,” Robinson said. “We want every kid who will ever put a jersey on at Ellender to know how great he was as a man and as a coach. He’s forever in the spirit of Ellender girls basketball. He’ll always be a part of the program. Every championship that we win is going to be dedicated to Coach Dixon. The legacy will continue forever."

Ellender girls basketball coach Javine Robinson (standing) shouts instructions as senior player Jasi Jenkins (14) walks toward a seat dedicated to former Ellender coach Kenneth Dixon, who died at age 70 last year.

The players said they trust Robinson in his new role. He has made the transition seamless..

“Coach Rob is a great coach,” Jenkins said. “A lot of people underestimate him. He knows the game very well. He has a great love for the game. We put our trust in him and he trusts us. We work as a team. It is a little new from Coach Dixon, but Coach Rob is one of those coaches that we needed after Coach Dixon.

“I would definitely love to share that moment of winning a championship with my team and just be grateful that Coach Dixon got me to this point and Coach Rob pushed us to finish it," said Jenkins. 

Reach Chris Singleton at 985-857-2213 or chris.singleton@houmatoday.com and on Twitter @courierchris.