The Shawnee State University men’s basketball program has brought in Lindal Yarbrough to fill the vacancy of its men’s basketball associate head coaching position.
Yarbrough, who served as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball program at Cumberland (Tenn.) for five seasons upon his graduation from the institution in 2012 — while also serving as the program’s interim head coach with the Phoenix during the second half of the 2017-18 season — graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Cumberland. Prior to his time at CU, Yarbrough attended College Heights Christian Academy in Gallatin, Tenn. before transferring to Hunters Lane High School in the northern part of Nashville.
“Being the associate head coach at a great program like Shawnee State is a great opportunity,” Yarbrough said. “It gives me the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the program and continue to be a role model for our student athletes. I am excited to continue to help build what Coach Thomas and others have already established here. I have enjoyed getting to know Coach Thomas and everyone in the program. Everything is first-class, and I believe we can do a lot of great things here at Shawnee State.”
From the start, Yarbrough made his presence felt on the hardwood.
At College Heights, Yarbrough obtained back-to-back state championships as a freshman and sophomore in high school before transferring to Hunters Lane for his final two seasons of varsity competition. While there, Yarbrough helped lead the Warriors to a 27-6 overall record and a Tennessee High School Athletic Association (THSAA) Class AAA State Tournament appearance as a senior in 2005-06 — thanks to the help of Billy Stone and Yarbrough’s siblings.
“I was introduced to the game of basketball at the age of seven by my brothers and childhood coach, Billy Stone,” Yarbrough said of his introduction to basketball and his subsequent development. “Basically, it was just my brothers and friends growing up playing basketball in the backyard during the summer, and I had to prove myself on the court against older guys. Billy Stone taught me a lot growing up while I played for him for six years.”
After walking on to play for former Middle Tennessee State and current Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis at Middle Tennessee State, Yarbrough transferred to Cumberland in January 2010, where the 6-1 guard became an integral part of the starting lineup at CU. He averaged 8.2 points, 4.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per bout in the 16 games that he participated in during the 2009-10 season, then came back and averaged seven points and 2.9 assists per contest in the 2010-11 campaign as a senior.
Since finishing his playing days at Cumberland, Yarbrough has successfully pursued a career in coaching. At CU, Yarbrough landed players such as Cameron Johnson, Telvin Wilkerson, and Trenton Perry during his time at Cumberland while also coaching Ty’Sean Powell, a two-time Second-Team All-Mid South Conference honoree. Yarbrough also coached up Diondrey Holt, Jr., who developed into a two-time First-Team All-Mid South Conference and two-time NAIA Honorable Mention All-American player while with the Phoenix. Yarbrough finished up his five year stint at Cumberland as the program’s interim head coach when the institution’s head coach, Lonnie Thompson, stepped away after 16 seasons with the Phoenix.
Over that time, Yarbrough, who played the point guard position throughout his collegiate career, says that Thompson’s coaching — along with playing the point guard position in general — helped mold his coaching tendencies.
“There is a big difference between coaching the game and playing,” Yarbrough said. “There are so many things that you have to think about while coaching the game. With that being said, I believe that playing point guard position as a student athlete helped prepare me for coaching because you have to do your job and also have to worry about how other players can contribute as a point guard.”
The perspective that Yarbrough learned, however, came in large part from his support system, which included Stone, Davis, Thompson, his family, and most importantly, his parents — Linnie and Mary.
“Without my family and friends, I wouldn’t be who I am today,” Yarbrough said. “That’s especially true for my Mom and Dad. They sacrificed a lot for me to get here. So I thank them a lot, and everyone else who has helped me get to this point that I am now.”