Upward Stars Nashville


Andrew Johnson - 4th Grade Boys Premier Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Proverbs 2:2 - "Turn your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding."

Basketball Experience: Santa Rosa Junior College Basketball Manager (2013-2014), Columbia State Basketball Manager/Assistant Coach (2015-2016), Basketball Skills Coach at Life Time Fitness (2017-2018), Belmont Basketball Manager (2016 - 2018).

Personal Fact:

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: I absolutely love the sport of basketball, and love to influence and help others. Growing up I had many coaches who impacted my life in so many ways and I hope to be able to have that same type of impact. There is nothing greater than watching kids grow and mature into better basketball players and better people.

Joshua Lester - 5th Grade Boys Premier Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Joshua 1:9 - "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Basketball Experience: Head Men's Basketball Coach at Cincinnati Christian University (2019-2020); Graduate Assistant for Belmont University Men's Basketball (2017-2019); Played Basketball for Belmont University (2013-2017); Played Basketball at Brentwood Academy (2009-2013); Assistant Varsity/JV Boys Basketball Coach at Brentwood Academy (present).

Personal Fact: Graduate of Belmont University in both 2017 [B.S. in Exercise Science and Marketing] as well as 2019 [Master of Sport Administration, M.S.A.]; A member of two NCAA tournaments trips with Belmont University Men's Basketball; Youngest son of three children by parents George and Darlene Lester; Nashville Native who loves chipotle.

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: I love to coach youth basketball because I see a younger version of myself out there in all of my youth athletes. I remember being at that age and strongly recall all of the great, loving, caring, knowledgeable coaches I was blessed to have growing up through the basketball ranks. Coaches that taught me how to play the beautiful game of basketball, but who cared more about my life off the court. We had fun competing and loved playing with and for each other.That's what meant the most to me then and still does to this day, the relationships. I understand how crucial this coaching period is for the young athletes who will be coached and mentored by myself and my staff. This is the foundation. The lessons and teachings they are receiving at this age are the ones they will lean on when they are challenged moving forward. Will they know the fundamentals of the game? Will they be able to humbly accept constructive coaching? When adversity hits, how will they respond? Being a good teammate, being a part of something bigger than yourself, sacrificing for the sake of others, etc. All extremely important values that will not only be valuable in between the lines, but also will contribute to their success in their future. I love to coach youth basketball because I get the opportunity to make this same positive impact through my Christ-like relationships with the young athletes on my team and their families.

Andrew Greer - 5th Grade Boys Select Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Peter 4:10: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace

Basketball Experience: Assistant Coach- Richland High School, Richland MS (2011-2013); Head Coach- Culleoka Unit School (2013-2014); Head Coach- East Hickman Middle School (2014-2015); Head Coach- East Hickman High School (2015-2017); Assistant Coach- Lipscomb Academy (2017-Present); Coach- Upward Stars (2015-Present)

Personal Fact: Tennessee-Martin (2009), B.S in Education Western Kentucky University (2015), Masters in Athletic Administration and Coaching; Children- Emma

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: I love having the opportunity to help young athletes learn how to play the game of basketball the right way while also teaching them how to be lights in their community and a reflection of Christ in all they do.

Wayne Smith - 6th Grade Boys Premier Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 27:17

Basketball Experience: Playing Experience: Aquinas Junior College, 84-86, played under Nashville legendary Coach Charles Anderson. Belmont College/University 86-87, played on the first team of legendary Coach, Rick Byrd. One Season professionally in Portugal, 91-92.

Coaching Experience: Currently, I am the Athletic Director and Head Boys Basketball Coach at Franklin Christian Academy. Upon serving, Head Girls Basketball Coach for Franklin Christian Academy, our girls basketball team won their very first conference championship in 2019.

I have over 30 years of coaching experience and over 20 years of teaching experience in Education in public and private schools in Davidson and Williamson Counties. I've taught and coached at the secondary level at the following schools; St. Vincent de Paul School, Harding Academy, Grassland Middle School, Stratford Middle School, Valor Collegiate Academy, Franklin Christian Academy. I've also coached in various AAU/Travel Programs, throughout Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee, with the majority of my success and successful team from Upward Stars.

Other coaching and instructional experiences include working Nike Camp, Belmont Team Camps and Instructional Basketball Camps, Vanderbilt Basketball Camp, Franklin Christian Academy Clinics, Upward Stars Clinics and Camps, and I also conduct my own Private/Small group lessons throughout the year from 5th Grade to High School players

Personal Fact: Graduate of Tennessee State University, B. S. in Physical Education & Health, K-12, 1999. I am a father of 6 children. Married for 9 years, wife and I met on the school bus in 1978 (long story). I am a member of Mount Zion Baptist Church of Nashville, I am an only child. I've won 2 Gold and 1 Silver Medal in my age division, in the National Senior Olympics Games 3 on 3 Basketball Event.

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: I love to teach the game to kids who want to learn and improve. I love watching a kids development when they have put in the repetitive work and I really enjoy seeing the success and feeling of accomplishment when they applied what they have learned. I love seeing the passion in kids when they are giving 100% in everything they do because they know the work they put in and the highest effort they give will end great results and satisfaction. Coaching youth basketball should always be about the kid's development and never about your personal gain. It's the giving back or paying it forward. That's WWJD!

Trey Stevenson - 6th Grade Boys Select Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) 6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Basketball Experience: Executive Director of Train`Em Up youth sports development (2012-Present); Director of Skills Development/Head Coach of Georgia Kings AAU Organization in Marietta GA (2014-2019); Head Coach for Walton's 7th grade High School Feeder Program (2018-2019); Associate Director of Hoop2Heaven at Mt.Zion UMC in Marietta GA (2011-2019)

Personal Fact: Attended Georgia Perimeter College for Business; Worked for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for 4 years as the Sports Chaplin for Clark Atlanta University; Certified Youth Sports Trainer & Nutritionist. Married to ZaQuayla Stevenson, Father of 6 kids, Kylee, Ayden, Elijah, Honesty, Micah, & Nora-Belle.

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: As a child living in a single parent household took a toll on me emotionally which lead me to seek love in all the wrong places. Playing basketball as a child and throughout High School my coaches taught me a lot about the game and how to become a man. Which sounds great, but that wasn't enough. It wasn't until I tore my ACL in College that I realized that there was more to life than jut playing basketball and becoming a man. Life is about having a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Now God has called me to Train Up the next generation to give them something I was seeking as a child (Jesus Christ).

Lance Akridge - 7th Grade Boys Premier Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."

Basketball Experience: Club/AAU Basketball (7 years); Travel Baseball Coach (6 years); Middle School Basketball (Lyon County-KY); Murray State University (Basketball Manager)

Personal Fact: Graduate of Murray State University-B.S. in Business (1991); West Virginia University-Master of Science Sport Management (1992); Certified Public Accountant (1995); Married for 20+ years (Wife - Andrea; 3 Children - Bryce, Luke, and Elise); Favorite sports teams: Murray State Racers, Cincinnati Reds, Memphis Grizzlies, Tennessee Titans, and Nashville Predators.

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: I love teaching life lessons through sports: Perseverance, Discipline, Teamwork, Selflessness, Mindset of Competing, etc. I enjoy striving to bring out the best in each athlete, motivating each player to be "the best he/she can be!" I enjoy the responsibilities of both teaching young athletes that life is MORE THAN basketball and promoting Christ through sports.

Ted Quinn - 7th Grade Boys Select Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 5:3-5 "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."

Basketball Experience: Sunset MS Coach (2018-Present); Upward Stars Boys Coach and Workout Leader (2015-Present); Wakonda HS (SD) Head Coach (1997-99); 15 year career as an Assistant and Head Coach at the college level, Mount Marty College (1995-96, 1999-02, 2012-13), Graceland University (2002-08), Nyack College (2008-12).

Personal Fact: Graduate of Mount Marty College-B.A. in History (1997); University of South Dakota-Master's Degree in Athletic Administration (2001); Regional Director for Nations of Coaches (2014-Present); Married to wife Jackie; two children-Jenna and Kellen.

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: At a time when so many young men and women have been used to win basketball games, it is important to use the game to win the hearts of young players and to point them to Christ, the ultimate source of love. The game can be used to develop so many characteristics for these future leaders, and I find that to be why I love to coach.

Jeff Ladig - 2024 Premier Nashville Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Matthew 16:25: For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Basketball Experience: Upward Stars Boys (2019-Present); Played for Belmont University (2012-2016) - Captain, Allstate Goodworks Award Winner

Personal Fact:Graduate of Belmont University (2016); Sales Consultant for Patterson Dental (2017-Present); Married wife Corey in May 2019

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: When I first started playing the game of basketball, my coaches helped me develop a love for it. I still remember each coach and their style. I hope to do the same for my team this year. Watching players improve their interest and skill in the game of basketball is what I love most.

Aaron Morrison - 8th Grade Boys Premier Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Hebrews 12:1-3: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Basketball Experience: Head JV and Assistant Boys Basketball Coach for Grace Christian Academy (2018-Present); Upward Stars Boys (2018-Present); Graduate Assistant for Lipscomb University Men's Basketball (2015-2016)

Personal Fact: Graduate of Lipscomb University - B.B.A. in Marketing (2013)

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: I feel that coaching basketball is one of the greatest forms of ministry. The opportunity to impact lives for Christ through the adversity and through the joy that comes with sport is unmatched.

TBA - 8th Grade Boys Select Head Coach

Trey Chappelle - 2023 Premier Nashville Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians: 15:58 - Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Basketball Experience: (2004-2011) Middle/High School Coach; (2011-2014) Tn. Rams Travel 14U /15U; (2015 - Present) Upward Stars Travel 15U.

Personal Fact: Graduate of: B.S. University of Oklahoma (1996); M.A.Ed. Tennessee State University (2000); Ed.S. Tennessee State University (2004); Work as: Educator Administrator Metro Nashville Public Schools; 1 Child- Justin Webb Chappelle

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: Relationships and Competitive Teamwork.

Anthony Holder - 9th Grade Boys Select Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Basketball Experience: Assistant boys basketball coach for Nolensville High School (2019-present); Upward stars boys (2018-present); played college basketball for Motown state (2000-2002); Played at Gallatin high school (1997-2000).

Personal Fact: 3 children- Antavia, Anthony jr., Arianna. Master Operator at Land O Lakes for 10 years.

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: I enjoy the satisfaction on a kids face when they start to get better. We all are put on this earth for a reason and teaching basketball is mine.

Terrance Vanlier - 2022 Premier Nashville Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

Basketball Experience: Played at Alabama A&M University (1996-2000); Played for Rosalia de Castro in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2000); Played for Nashville Rhythm in American Basketball Association (2004); Head Boys Coach Tennessee A-Game (2008-2010); Assistant Boys Basketball Coach for St. Edward School (2011); Head Boys Coach Nashville Celtics (2012); Assistant Varsity Boys Coach for Overton High School (2015); Head Boys Coach for Upward Stars (2015-Present)

Personal Fact: B.S. in Computer Science - Alabama A&M University (2001)

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: Coaching for me, is about more than just providing a player direction on the basketball court. It's about building a trusting relationship with each player, helping them to develop individually, on the court and off the court. I love teaching the game to those who have a passion for playing it. There is a profound sense of joy I receive each time I watch a player reap the rewards of a strong work ethic. One of my proudest moments is the success of one of my former players. Although he didn't play college basketball, he's a Belmont graduate, a father, and a homeowner. I couldn't be prouder of him. Win or lose, if I've helped players build a foundation that gives them the tools they need to be successful young men, then I've accomplished my goal as a coach.

Ryan Sharpe - 10th Grade Boys Premier Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Basketball Experience: Playing: University of North Georgia (2010-2013), Cherokee High School (GA) (2005-2009) Coaching: Davidson Academy Head JV and Assistant Varsity Boys Basketball Coach (2019-Present), Upward Stars (2018-Present), Trevecca University Assistant Mens Basketball Coach (2016-2018), Cherokee High School Skill Development Coach (2015-2016), University of West Alabama Assistant Mens Basketball Coach (2014-2015), Tennessee Temple University Assistant Mens Basketball Coach (2013-2014)

Personal Fact: I grew up a coach's kid, so I have always been in a gym. Studied Business Management at North Georgia. Married to my wife, Leslie, who is a nurse at Vanderbilt.

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: I have been very fortunate over the years to have coaches that poured into my life. I want to give back to the younger generations. I love the game of basketball, it has been very good to me over the years, so I want to share that love of the game with others. I believe sports can teach valuable life lessons that help athletes grown on and off the court, and I feel honored to be able to help guide those athletes through that process.

Brian Moragne - 2021 Premier Nashville Head Coach

Favorite Bible Verse: Romans 8:28: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose

Basketball Experience: Head Coach for Thurgood Marshall Middle School 2008-2018. Mt Juliet 2018-Present Upward Stars 7-11 grade coach 2015-Present

Personal Fact: Graduate of Tennessee State University and Trevecca Nazarene University.

Why do you choose to coach youth basketball: The opportunity to coach/develop young players on and off the court is a passion of mine and a calling!