Former Alma basketball standout Chanlee Bottoms 'excited' to return home as an assistant

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier

No matter where Chanlee Bottoms ended up, she always found her way back home to Alma.

Her 16-year journey came full circle as she was named as the girls' assistant basketball coach at the April school board meeting.

"I am super excited about having her here and working with her," Alma coach Codey Mann. "I've known her all six years that I've been here. I told myself that if I had an opportunity to get her, I would try. I'm glad she wanted to come back home."

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Bottoms replaces Paige Jones, who was recently named as the head coach-in-waiting for Mountainburg. Bottoms will begin June 1.

"I'm super excited to come back all my family is here," Bottoms said. "I'm also excited to work with kids to have the opportunity to work towards a state championship. We won the 2005 state championship and every kid deserves to experience that. I think that we can get it turned around here, and the energy that I have with Codey is unbelievable."

Bottoms said she learned a lot of her work ethic and what later became part of her coaching philosophy from former coach Madelyn Flenor. 

"She was an awesome lady," Bottoms said. "In the 4A, we weren't the most talented team, we would out-work you. I've been to NLR and multiple colleges and you have to outwork people. She also taught us work ethic and team chemistry. I think I got my competitive nature from her and I'm thankful for that. I have carried that to college coaching and NLR."

During the summers and offseasons, Bottoms has been working with Alma basketball players. She has coached several travel teams and is coaching the fifth and sixth graders this summer.

"She brings a lot of energy and is invested in our program from Day One," Mann said. "We're excited to have her here with us every day."

Bottoms was named the 2005 state tournament MVP in the championship run. She played for both UA-Fort Smith and Henderson State. 

Her coaching travels have included: St. Mary's University (2012-15), Pensacola (2016), UAFS (2017-18), and North Little Rock (2019-21).

"Becoming involved is how championship teams evolve. It's how you create competitiveness," Bottoms said. "We (the fifth- and sixth-grade team) were at a tournament last week, Codey and some other coaches were there to watch us play. They want to help us succeed and those are the building blocks for our program."