Class of 2015
Ask anyone that saw Teneka “Bama” Burrell play and they will probably tell you she could jump as high anyone in the gym at any given time.
Burrell is a former All-State Athens basketball player who went on to receive All-Conference honors at Middle Tennessee State University.
“She was an all-around good athlete,” former AHS coach Randy White remembered Tuesday. “She had uncanny leaping ability, just an all-around good player.”
White, a 2008 Limestone County Hall of Fame inductee, coached Burrell from 1990-94. During that time, Athens girls basketball team reached the state finals twice — in 1992 and ’93, coming up just short both times.
“We were a bunch of hard workers. We were a good team,” said Heather Haney, who played with Burrell at Athens. “We loved the game. We stuck together. We just got the job done. It was a lot of fun playing in those days.” Haney, 2012 Hall of Fame inductee, played with Burrell for two years at Athens High before playing basketball at Troy State University.
“When she jumped up to get the rebound, it looked like she would pass it in midair,” said Haney. “She was like a spring board. I always wanted to
jump that high. She wasn’t your typical post player.”
Despite her elite leaping ability, basketball wasn’t Burrell’s first love. The versatile athlete began playing tennis while growing up in Athens.
“I think her dedication to the game is what stood out,” said her mother, Imogene Burrell. “She first started playing tennis, then she started playing basketball in middle school. No matter what sport she played, she was dedicated to playing.”
Following an outstanding high school career, which included an All-State selection and three All-Tournament team selections, Burrell went on to play at Kilgore Junior College in Kilgore, Texas.
Burrell then transferred to Middle Tennessee State University in Mufreesboro, Tennessee, where she earned Ohio Valley Conference second team honors in 1998.
“She had a personality that went along with her basketball skills,” said White. “You couldn’t help meeting her and not liking her. I remember going to see her at MTSU, she was like a celebrity up there.”
Burrell became so popular at MTSU, she earned the title “Bama Burrell” among the fans in Mufreesboro. She started 27 games her senior year at MTSU, leading the team in rebounds and second in points.
Burrell currently resides in Addison, Texas.