Claflin University has named an alumnus as its new women’s head basketball coach! Get the story from Travis Boland at The Times and Democrat below.

Terrence Jenkins, center, has been named the new women’s basketball coach at Claflin University. He is joined by Claflin athletics director Tony O’Neal, left, and Claflin President Dwaun Warmack.(Credit: Travis Boland, T&D)

Claflin University announced Wednesday Terrence Jenkins will be the new head women’s basketball coach at the school.

Jenkins was named the interim head coach in December after the university cut ties with Revonda Whitley. A 2005 graduate of Claflin, Jenkins has been a part of the Panthers basketball program as an assistant for 14 seasons.

“I got to know (Jenkins) as an assistant coach,” Claflin athletics director Tony O’Neal said. “I watched his work ethic and commitment to Claflin University.”

During his opening speech, Jenkins thanked a number of former players, coaches, family and colleagues. He became emotional when talking about his mother, who was in attendance.

“I want to thank my first coach, and my favorite coach — my mom,” Jenkins said. “When you see her, you see me. She showed me how to love, how to care and how to help others when you have the opportunity.”

After taking over for Whitley, Jenkins led the Lady Panthers to a 7-12 record and the second round of the CIAA women’s basketball tournament. Claflin finished 10th in conference after being picked in the preseason to finish last.

“When I met with the ladies, I told them that we were picked to finish last (in the CIAA), and we’re not going to do that,” Jenkins said. “Somebody is going to finish first, why not us.”

After that second-round loss to Elizabeth City State, the team traveled home while Jenkins stayed in Baltimore.

“The team asked if I was coming back,” Jenkins said. “I told them I was coming back to Orangeburg, but they wanted to know if I was going to return to coaching them. Ladies, I’m back, and I’m ready to lead this team to a championship.”

Last year’s team featured 21 players on the roster, including 11 freshmen. Of those 21 players, only six were from the state of South Carolina and two were from Orangeburg County. As a native of Blackville, Jenkins said he would be searching for the best talent in state and out of state.

“Being from this area, I’m definitely going to hit those grounds running,” Jenkins said of his recruiting style. “I’m always looking in my own back yard. I’m looking for the best player and best student-athlete that can come in and be a part of this culture. Someone who will set the standard, win a lot of games and ultimately graduate.”

With him having taken over the team in December, Jenkins said the current roster is familiar with his coaching style, but he emphasized there is still a lot of work to accomplish.

“The biggest thing is we have not been through a preseason together,” Jenkins said. “We’re going to have to learn about hard work, and that starts with me. I have to set the standard. Preseason will be very important, we have to hit the ground running after this weekend’s Final Four. Having worked with the men and working with the women, there is very little difference. The ball is still orange, the rims are still orange and we have to put the ball in the basket more than the other team.”