Outstanding young athletes dont always become outstanding teachers and coaches later in life, but sometimes they do. A case in point is Patricia Hemphill Cavender, a native of Fayetteville, Tennessee, and now a resident of Madison, Alabama. As a schoolgirl at Fayetteville Central High School, she was one of the top basketball players in southern Tennessee and was named her teams MVP in 1971-72. She was also the MVP in District 16 that same season and was named to the TSSAA All-Star team. She went on to play basketball and volleyball at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, where she graduated with honors in 1976. She also holds graduate degrees in administration (1989) and physical education (1992) from Alabama A&M University. Cavender came to Huntsvilles Butler High School in 1977 as a teacher/coach and stayed the next 27 years, coaching softball, volleyball and basketball, before moving to Discovery Middle School as coach and athletic director the next four years. She then became a teacher/coach at Bob Jones High School, where she coached three sports over the next five years. She is currently coaching basketball at Lincoln County High School in Tennessee. In an educational career that is now approaching 40 years, Cavenders teams have produced 36 winning seasons, won 20 major tournament championships and eight city championships, appeared in eight state tournaments, and she has been named Coach of the Year seven times. Her 2008 volleyball team at Bob Jones won a state championship. In addition to her various other duties, she was also an instructor at Calhoun Community College in Huntsville from 1997-2005. Cavender says her niece, Jennifer Cummings, and Mistie Hutchison, a former basketball manager at Butler, have had the greatest impact on her career, not only in her coaching style but in the way she has lived her life as well. While both have been affected by physical limitations, theyve achieved greatness without complaints, Cavender said. They both have a positive outlook in every situation and their work ethics can be summed up in two words never quit. If we all could embrace lifes challenges in the same capacity, wed all be undefeated. Cavender also remembers a moment in time with former Alabama basketball coach C. M. Newton. Coach Newton spoke to the coaches at Butler early in my career, she said. He reminded us that we do not coach a sport, we coach kids. While teaching kids to win is important, the relationships we establish are vital. While Im proud of all my teams, I value the relationships with the players, parents and other coaches the most. I learned more from the relationships than I ever taught about how to play a sport. The athletes she coached often speak of Cavender with the same sort of regard. Coach Cav is definitely the coach who helped me become the player and person I am today, said Jessica Offutt, who played softball for Cavender at Discovery and at Bob Jones before going on to become a two-time All-America Scholar-Athlete at Mississippi State. She was hard on me but thats what made me make it to the next level. She always wanted us to be great players and people. She was very passionate about everything and it was contagious. She was the kind of coach you worked your butt off for because you wanted to make her proud and you wanted to win for her. A longtime certified official in both volleyball and softball, Cavender is active in a variety of educational, civic and church activities. She has one son, Jay Patrick Cavender.