One is the winningest high school basketball coach in the state. The other is an interior designer who doesn’t have an athletic bone in her body.
Despite this, Kim and Richard Duease say they have a lot of similarities.
They are able to finish each other’s sentences, have a common sense of humor and share a common faith in Christ.
That faith has helped them make it through the tough times. It’s also that faith that drives them to use their careers not only as a means to an end, but as a way to minister to others.
Kim is the owner of Kim Duease Designs in Madison. She has designed nearly 400 fabric and wallpaper patterns and has been written up in Southern Living Magazine.
Richard is the athletic director and boys’ basketball coach at Madison-Ridgeland Academy (MRA). Richard recently won his 1,698th game, making him the winningest high school basketball coach in the state.
The two say they do everything not for the write-ups or the records, but to better serve Christ.
“My savior died for me, on the cross for my sins. What better sacrifice can He make that?” Richard said. “I strive to further Christianity and Jesus Christ, and I do it through coaching. She does it through the store.”
Kim’s store is located in Madison, in the 2000 block of Main Street.
The store is filled with Kim’s designs, bright colors that provided a stark contrast to the cloudy day outside.
“My work has always been a mission field for me. There is so much hurt in the world, we’ve created a space that is life-giving,” she said. “The patterns are the story of my life – from childhood to the present day.”
“People come in and see the color and beauty and they become happy again,” Richard said, adding to his wife’s comments. “They become happy again.”
Kim opened her store about four years ago, after working out of their home for 25 years.
“I was comfortable where I was in the studio, but I was getting the feeling that it was time to change.”
Richard knew that opening a retail location would be challenging. His parents Ina and John, worked in retail in the Delta, and he remembers how tired they were coming home at night.
It was that experience that led him into coaching, coupled with his love for athletics.
Richard played five sports in high school and then played tennis, football and basketball at Mississippi Delta Community College, but gave up playing when he went to Mississippi State University.
“My freshman year, I tore up my knee. My second year, I broke my arm,” he said.
At State, he pledged the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and initially majored in business. His parents expected him to return home after college and join the family business.
However, he was sitting in a business statistics class one day when he realized that business just wasn’t for him.
“I finished business statistics one and came into the first day of businesses statistic two the second semester. I thought, ‘was this something I wanted to do for the rest of my life?” he recalled. “It was not. I was a happy-go-lucky guy who enjoyed life and sports.”
Richard walked out of class and went to his counselor and said he wanted to coach. Because he had taken almost all P.E. classes as electives, he made the transition from business major to physical education rather easily, and only needed one more year after his senior year to graduate.
He went on to graduate with a bachelor’s in physical education, six hours shy of having a business major.
“The Lord helped me make the decision. I just didn’t know it at the time,” he said.
After college, he landed at Manchester Academy in Yazoo City, where he was assistant high school football coach, head junior high football coach, head coach for boys’ and girls’ basketball, varsity girls’ track coach and junior high track coach.
“I was 22,” he said, referring to how he was able to handle the heavy workload. “I did lose 25 pounds that year, but I needed to at that point.”
From, Richard went to Clarksdale-Lee Academy, where he led the girls’ basketball team to a state title.
In 1982, Richard, who wanted to coach both girls’ and boys’ basketball, took at job with Madison-Ridgeland Academy, where he has remained ever since.
“A friend of mine, Ronnie Aldy, said MRA was looking for someone to coach both teams,” he said.
At the time, MRA was smaller than Clarksdale-Lee. He took the job, never knowing MRA would grow into the largest independent school in the state.
Four years later, Richard returned to Clarksdale to play in a tennis tournament. That’s where he ran into Kim.
Kim was a junior at Delta State University, and was at the tournament cheering on her father, who was also playing.
Kim had just broken up with her boyfriend at the time. “He got me on the rebound. He asked me if I knew how to cook and I said popcorn and champagne and I hooked him,” she said.
Interestingly, Kim attended Clarksdale-Lee while Richard coached there. At the time, Kim was not a basketball fan.
“I wasn’t an athlete. I had friends who played, but I didn’t understand how they could be committed to something so senseless,” she said. “I a lot of people thought I played basketball for him, but I didn’t.”
“She couldn’t have made it,” Richard said.
Kim went on to graduate Delta State in 1986, with a degree in business and a minor in accounting. The two were married the same year.
After college, she worked at Fridges’ at Highland Village, and did interior decorating on the side. She left her position with the company after she was hired by a local attorney and his wife to decorate their home.
“Working retail five days a week, I realized I could not do the job while working full time,” she said. “I spoke with the owner, Diane Holloway. She was very influential in me going down the path to start my own business.
“The Lord has been faithful to keep the pipeline full.”
The couple has one daughter, Anne Taylor Duease-Lindsey, and one son-in-law, Kyle.
The two were married a year ago. Anne Taylor, who took after her mother, also is not an athlete. Rather, she designs her own jewelry and accessories and has been featured in U.K. Vogue and U.K. GQ magazines.
Richard has won 38 state championships, including 12 overall boys’ titles and two overall girls’ titles.
Successes aside, the two have had tough times, Richard is currently battling Glaucoma. The coach can no longer drive and relies on “Kim Uber” much of the time to get around. Despite not being able to drive, Richard is able to wear a contact that allows him to see what’s happening on the ball court.
For Kim’s part, still adjusting to having to carpool. Kim never had to when their daughter was in school, because Anne Taylor would ride with Richard.
“He came home one day, after his assistant had taken him to an eye appointment in Alabama. He said, ‘I can’t drive anymore’ and ‘we’re going to be joined at the the hip,’” she said. “We’re making adjustments and pushing through.”