Where are They Now?- Lisa Billingsley-Wigginton
A lot has changed since Lisa Billingsley-Wigginton’s days on the basketball court. The former Lady Urchin has accomplished a lot since her days at East Union, including a two-year stint playing ball at Mississippi State. Moving from Jackson to Memphis, Wigginton now calls Tupelo home and has done so for the last 18 years.
“I started with a partial scholarship at State and played for two years before I decided to retire and focus on school,” she said. “I received my bachelor of arts degree in math along with a teaching certificate, but decided to go the business route.”
Currently working as a data analyst for North Mississippi Medical Center, Wigginton reminisced on her days at East Union, where she helped lead the Lady Urchins to the state tournament in 1978.
“We made it to the semifinals that year, and for our class, I think that was the first time the girls ever made it to Jackson,” she said.
Growing up in the early days of Title IX, Wigginton noted that there were not many options for girls athletically, and the competition to earn a jersey- a spot on the team- was unbelievable.
“Every year we had the suit day, which was extremely stressful,” she said. “Everyone wanted a spot on the team, but many didn’t have the chance. There were only two sports for girls at the time. We didn’t have cross country and softball like they do now; we only had cheerleading and basketball, so it was big if you could make the team.”
And not only was the competition tough, but the sport was year-round between the season, summer camps and the occasional pick-up games.
“I loved playing there, and that’s what we did all the time,” she said. “Now, kids have so much more that they’re involved in, while we spent our free time out in the dirt playing ball when we weren’t practicing with the team or at team camps.”
As for her time at State, while she only played for two seasons, she is able to say that she was a member of the first Lady Bulldog squad that handed Ole Miss and legendary coach Van Chancellor its first loss to their state rival.
“It was tough and very competitive at State,” she said. “I didn’t see much playing time just because there were that many better players in front of me, but I did love it when we were able to beat Ole Miss,” she said. “That was a big deal for the team and the school at the time.”
Now, Wigginton is the mother of two with a daughter following in her footsteps, going to school at State and an 11 year-old son in the Tupelo school system. It has been a few years since Wigginton has visited her former school, but she has occasionally attended games, watching nieces and nephews play.
While many aspects of the game have changed, Wigginton still has a love for the sport, and her glory days at East Union remain on her mind, an exciting time in her life she will never forget.
About Chris Elkins
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