Leslie Ramsey
Class of 2017

Leslie Ramsey
It’s been 17 years since Leslie Ramsey played competitively, but the former Ardmore standout has a found a way to stay connected with basketball as the mother and coach of 10-year-old and 12-year-old sons that share her passion for the sport.

“They’re basketball nuts, definitely, and big (Golden State) Warriors fans. My dad built us a small basketball court at his house a few years ago, with lines and everything,” said Ramsey. “We play every day to 100 (points) when I can. We keep it fun because it’s something my dad always taught me — you can go over the fundamentals but players

learn by playing the game.”

Ramsey is the first female athlete from Ardmore to be inducted into the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame. In three years as a 5-foot-8 shooting guard and point guard for the Lady Tigers, she amassed 1,922 points despite tearing her ACL eight games into her senior year. She was invited to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All- Star game, named All-County and All-Area three years and selected All-State twice. As a Madison County native, her varsity playing career began as a freshman at Bob Jones, where she earned All-State in cross-country and All-County and All-Area in track and basketball.

The eight-member Class of 2017 bumps the LCSHOF membership to 119 overall and 14 women, including Debbie Blakely, who was inducted as a basketball coach in 2005. Ramsey played for Blakely from 1993-95 and for Michael Jackson in 1992-93. Under Blakely, Ardmore won the county tournament and area championship before falling to eventual Class 3A state champion Lauderdale County in the 1993-94 season.

Jackson, who coached football, softball and basketball in 25 years at Ardmore, guided the Lady Tigers’ basketball squad to the county finals and an area championship with a talented lineup featuring Ramsey at point guard, All-State shooting guard Jill Clark and forward Tabby Mitchell.

“I had a multitude of talented players in the 16-18 years I coached girls’ sports, and Leslie is probably the quickest player I ever had the luxury of coaching,” Jackson said. “Everything around Leslie was

better. She excelled in practice. She was an asset on defense. She didn’t mind any role we put her in and never complained about having to guard someone. She was a complete basketball player. “We went 23-7 with her on team, and she just made us great. In the playoffs, we wound up losing to Red Bay, the team that won the (3A) state championship.”

After a prep basketball career that included two area titles at Ardmore and two state championships with her AAU team, she lettered four years in basketball and one year in cross-country at Division I Jacksonville State, graduating in 1999 with a degree in criminal justice that sparked her current career in law enforcement after originally planning to become a teacher and a coach.

Six years ago when her sons became old enough to play organized youth basketball, Ramsey started volunteering as a boys’ basketball coach in the Athens Parks and Recreation winter league. Carrie Moss, a recreation coordinator for Athens Parks and Rec, described her as an excellent example for kids.

“It’s always nice to have a volunteer coach with the experience of playing in college. I think it’s an inspiration to kids. It shows them that hard work does pay off,” Moss said. “She does a great job because she has a passion for the sport, knows the game and she’s fair. “Not everyone can coach a sport they were good in — it’s a gift. She has that ability to coach kids and get them to understand basketball on their level.”

Playing basketball often, and for the enjoyment of the sport, is essential to learning the game, according to Ramsey.

“I started playing when I was 9 years old, and I played mostly with guys in rec ball because that’s what was available. You have to have a feel for the game. I don’t want to make playing every day a boot camp, and I don’t want to make my sons into something they’re not,” she said. “I just try to give them all the tools to succeed, whether it’s in basketball, band or academics. I think that’s an important message for them. I played sports but it’s not something they have to do, necessarily.”

Ramsey said she credits her parents, Jim and Vickie Ramsey for their unwavering support and the foundation they provided her. Her father drove her to tournaments across the country and her mother prepared her pre-game meals, which she always waited to eat until after games because of nerves.

“I was never pushed into playing sports by my parents. My dad, who was an excellent high school football player, really instilled my work ethic and the importance of getting an education. He taught me good things happen when you work hard,” she said. “I got my endurance from my mother. She’s 64 and she speed-walks 6-11 miles a day. She was a dedicated stay-at-home mom that took care of me and my two brothers. She never missed a game and was always the one in the stands you could hear.”