Coaches Corner: Getting to know Crystal Slaughter
Crystal Slaughter was born and raised by Tony and Donna Slaughter in Jackson, Tennessee.
Dedicated to her career, Slaughter makes the work commute of 40-45 minutes every morning from Jackson to McNairy County to teach and coach at Bethel Springs Elementary and McNairy Central High School.
Crystal can remember playing basketball for a church league after being convinced by a close friend to join. Her earliest memory comes from playing for this league.
“One game, I fell down,” said Slaughter, “Someone shot the ball and the ball came back to me and I shot it from my knees and made it.” Ever since, she has made sports a big part of her life and excelled in it.
She is a 2001 graduate of Jackson South Side High School and the former Lambuth University with a Health and Human Science Major with an emphasis on Physical Education K-12 and a minor in Psychology.
She played basketball, volleyball, soccer, and cross-country at South Side. In Jackson, the coaches required the players to take on multiple sports to stay in physical shape.
At Lambuth University, Crystal played her freshmen and sophomore year at volleyball. “I was the shortest player. So we played the back row as defensive specialists.”
In her junior year she played for the Lambuth Eagles and tore her anterior cruciate ligament or ACL in her right knee that benched her for the latter half of the season.
McNairy Central Volleyball landed Slaughter her first head coach position two years ago handed down from Meg Day, the founder of Bobcat Volleyball.
Ironically the biggest volleyball rival is South Side, with Slaughter’s former coach still residing.
The Lady Cats beat South Side last year in two matches and he told Crystal’s parents, “‘if one person could have beaten me, it was her. I will let her beat me, nobody else, just her,’” said Slaughter.
As an assistant, Crystal began as a student teacher at I.B. Tigrett Middle in girls’ track and has helped with boys’ basketball and girls’ basketball at Bethel Springs since 2008.
“Girls are very different than boys. My minor in psychology has really helped me out with coaching.”
Several seniors that have played for Crystal at MCHS are attending college. Recent graduate Ashley Bruno signed with Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas receiving $10,000 per year.
“She took over the back row for us,” said Slaughter. “She was awesome.”
Several strong positions have moved on and five more seniors step up this year. “It’s all about being ready. Everybody’s going to try.”
“I foresee us being good. I know what our competition has.” Crystal closed with, “We just have to believe in ourselves and believe we can do it. And not to put our heads down, keep our heads up.”
Last year, Crystal was on crutches from an injury while coaching volleyball, but she still found the courage, strength, and dedication to continue her regular schedule.