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Flames Feature: Taking Up The Mantle

March 1, 2007
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Jamie Feagin with some of the primary leaders in her life (from left): mother Linda Feagin, father Robert Feagin and head coach Carey Green.

Jamie Feagin with some of the primary leaders in her life (from left): mother Linda Feagin, father Robert Feagin and head coach Carey Green.

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Battling back from injury, senior forward Jamie Feagin is heating things up in the "Furnace" this season. Taking cues from the leaders in her life, Feagin is providing leadership and maturity for the Lady Flames. 

Now in her final season with the team, Feagin has seen firsthand how senior leadership can play an integral part in a team's success. "Every year we pass the baton down. The seniors who have moved on, like Katie [Feenstra] and Kristal [Tharp], taught us to excel," explained the senior. 

Feagin is carrying on the legacy of leadership she has learned from these upperclassmen as she tries to guide her teammates toward a championship this season. "I try to lead by example. If they see me hustling, they are not going to want to be slower than me," she said with a smile. 

Understanding her place on the team, the senior contributes an incredible amount of maturity to the young squad. "My role on the team is to basically be a little hustler," stated Feagin. "I can't mess up on hustle. You can't accidentally not hustle." 

And hustle she does. Having fully recovered from a shoulder injury, she hustled her way to nine rebounds and three steals against UNC Greensboro at the Terrapin Classic on Dec. 30. Since the start of the Terrapin Classic, Feagin has posted the best numbers of her career, averaging over four points and four rebounds per outing. 

Her efforts earned Feagin a spot in the starting line-up for the first time in her career on Jan. 2 against American. "Jamie is the most talented athlete on our team," acknowledged head coach Carey Green. 

A natural athlete, Feagin has been playing basketball since grade school. Growing up with her older brother, Joel, she thrived on competition. "We were always very competitive as children," Feagin said. "We have always encouraged each other to be better. He has made me a tougher athlete." 

Besides the support she received from her family, Feagin grew both as a person and a player under the direction of her high school basketball coach, Karen Fawcett. "She was kind of a mentor," explained Feagin. "She was a Christian and she made it known that she was a Christian, and I was really drawn to her." 

It was at the encouragement of Fawcett that the Lockport, N.Y., native began looking at Liberty. "I came down and checked it out and I really liked the campus. I talked to Coach Green for almost three hours," recalled Feagin. Soon after, Green offered Feagin a position on the team. "I signed right away," the forward said. "I didn't even visit any of the other colleges I was thinking about." 

Although her decision to play for Liberty may have been easy, her first season with the Lady Flames was a difficult time for Feagin. "My freshman year, I was really sick. They were questioning my health in serious terms. They thought I might have had lymphoma. I had to have surgery on one of my lymph nodes," remembered Feagin. "It was my freshman year, so I was already nervous, but to be really sick the whole first half of the season, that was the worst, because I didn't know what was going on. I was just a kid. I also missed half of my classes." 

Bouncing back from illness in her sophomore year, the graphic design major went on to play in all 33 games during the season, averaging 12.8 minutes per game. Feagin also added four points in just 11 minutes during the Lady Flames' Sweet 16 game that year. Feagin met success in the classroom as well and was named to the school's Dean's List in 2005. 

The following season brought change for the Lady Flames. With the loss of senior Katie Feenstra and the addition of the Frazee triplets, the team underwent a complete transformation. "You know, with the triplets it is just a different team," explained Feagin. "With Katie, we could get it down the court and lob it inside to her. Now we play a quicker game because we don't have to wait for a 6-8 player to get down the court. Now it is just quick, quick, quick. We can read more options. Everything is more fast-paced. Everything is a little sharper." 

Feagin and the Lady Flames also welcomed the addition of assistant coach Olaf Lange, who has brought a new dynamic to the program. "Coach Lange really broke down every aspect of our game," noted the forward. "Everybody was thinking big picture, and we were missing the little things. He really pointed that out to us." With his guidance, the forward improved her individual game and was Liberty's second-leading scorer off the bench last season, even while battling a shoulder injury for much of the year. 

Feagin underwent surgery on her shoulder towards the end of her junior season and was forced to brace herself for another long recovery. "That's always the hardest," the senior stated. "You know, you could probably get in there and start practicing, but you also know it could be too early and you could ruin the whole season. It takes a lot of patience." 

Ultimately, Feagin relied on the encouragement of her teammates to get her through her recovery. "It is your teammates who keep you going. They are always like ‘We understand you are hurt. Take your time to get back because you want to be 100 percent.'" 

After returning to full health earlier this season, Feagin has worked to repay her teammates for their encouragement during her recuperation. "I try to motivate the girls as much as I can." Feagin explained, "If somebody is down, you pick them up." 

As her time as a Lady Flame comes to a close, Feagin knows she will cherish the memories she has made. "We get to travel to some crazy places that I probably wouldn't have gone to if I weren't doing this," the forward acknowledged. "Coach Green always tries to take us to cool places. He tries to introduce us to new food, too. 

"We all call him [Coach Green] ‘Daddy.' We are used to him." It's the comfort and camaraderie of her team which Feagin says she will miss the most after graduation. Even though she may not be straying far from Lynchburg, Feagin knows she will not be able to see her teammates as often. "We will never spend the same amount of time together," she noted. 

Feagin will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications graphic design. Although she is unsure of her plans after graduation, she is already entertaining job offers from advertising firms in her hometown and the Lynchburg area.

As she reflects on the influences in her life and prepares to impact others, Feagin has developed confidence in herself. "I am more confident with my age now. I know what I can do," she said. With this newfound determination, Feagin is out to show everyone what she is capable of, on the court and in the business world.

By Mollie Richards
Athletic Media Relations Student Assistant