THE DM: Armintie Price Herrington, A Journey Through the Game
November 17, 2016 | By Lana Ferguson and Kajah Kennedy for The Daily Mississippian
Armintie Price Herrington Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics
Armintie Price Herrington (BA liberal studies ’07), coordinator of player engagement for Ole Miss Women’s Basketball, is one of the most decorated basketball players in Ole Miss history. She broke school records and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. In 2014, she was inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame and still ranks No. 3 all-time at Ole Miss with 2,165 points.
But before she was Armintie Price Herrington the basketball player, she was Armintie Price, a little girl from Milwaukee who did not know much about the game at all.
It wasn’t until she was in eighth grade when a basketball was put into her hands.
“One of my friends, her name was Megan, said, ‘Let’s start playing basketball. I’ll be 23, and you’ll be 24,’” Herrington said. “She even picked my number out for me.”
The number stuck, and Herrington sported the #24 jersey during her time on the court at Ole Miss.
Herrington was hooked. She loved the game. She was good at it. But there was one issue, and oddly enough it was the dress attire.
“I come from a religious family, a Christian background, so we didn’t wear shorts. We just wore skirts. So now I’m trying to think ‘How am I going get my mom to let me play basketball?’” Herrington said. “So I get home and ask my mom and she said no, simple as that, and I’m like ‘Mom, I think I really want to do this, and she said ‘The only way you can play is if you wear a skirt.’ I said ‘Momma, what about when I fall and they see my undergarments?’ She’s like ‘Well you’re going to have to think of something.’”
Herrington needed to improvise and her home economics teacher was the one with the solution. The teacher custom made Herrington a skort to wear in place of the team’s uniform shorts.
Herrington’s mother approved and so it began: Herrington’s high school sports career was underway. She became a standout athlete on both the basketball court and running track, gaining her attention from an assortment of colleges including track offers from Duke and Mississippi State.
“The sun really messed me up, so I choose basketball over track, but I do love track,” Herrington laughed. “When I look back over it now, I kind of wish I would have at least done long jump.”
She had just as many offers to play basketball, but Ole Miss was the school that had a little bit of everything she was looking for.
“Thankfully Ole Miss was only 30 minutes away from my hometown, and staying close to my mom was very important to me because she was sick, so I was glad I stayed close to home,” she said.
It didn’t take a long time for Herrington to commit.
“Ole Miss was the only place I visited, and it was crazy because I didn’t know anything about the Mississippi State rivalry nor did I know anything about the SEC or the WNBA,” Herrington said. “I didn’t know anything mostly because at my home we didn’t have cable.”
Herrington remembers Oprah being the main show her mother watched. Sometimes Herrington and her brother would get to watch Wheel of Fortune and maybe a football game. Most of their time was spent outside playing, though.
“It just had to be the Lord with me choosing Ole Miss because it’s one of the greatest schools in the SEC, it’s close to home and the environment here is just something that I’ll never forget, and I’m just grateful that I chose Ole Miss,” Herrington said.
Herrington said she never really thought she would get to go to college, but a scholarship from Ole Miss is what made that possible.
“Yes, my mom was very big on education, but at that time, I was the first out of my family to even go to college, so it was a great blessing,” Herrington said. “I just wanted to make my family proud.”
That she did, and almost immediately.
Herrington averaged just below 15 points per game her freshman year. That number moved to 16 the next year, then 17 her junior season. She was building a reputation as one of the best players in the SEC, not only on the offensive end but defensively as well, averaging three steals per game. These three years were all building up to a big senior year.
Then tragedy struck, halting everything in its tracks.
Herrington’s mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given only 15 days to live. Herrington’s world was turned upside down.
“It was hard,” Herrington said. “She is the woman that I got my strength from and beliefs and influenced my relationship with Christ. Finding out that she had ovarian cancer and it was too late and she didn’t want to do any chemo because she didn’t want to lose her hair. But she basically said let the Lord’s will be done, and at that moment I knew that I couldn’t hold on any longer.”
Beatrice Christine Price died a few weeks after.
Herrington was in pain, but she wasn’t alone. She said going into her senior year, just after her mother’s death, her teammates and coaches uplifted her.
“That season I dedicated to my mom, not for wins or losses, but just making sure I did the right thing and that I upheld that standards that I was raised by because I knew it meant more to her than anything,” she said.
Herrington said her mom probably only went to two or three of her games, but she was her #1 fan because she was who first allowed her to play.
That season was the best one yet for Herrington, averaging 19 points per game. She led the Rebels to the Elite Eight, making school history.
The following year, a few days after her birthday, Herrington was drafted into the WNBA by the Chicago Sky as the third overall pick. She was the first player in Ole Miss history to be drafted in the first round.
After three and a half seasons, Herrington was traded to the Atlanta Dream where she would play what she says was one of her greatest seasons.
After Atlanta, she joined the Los Angeles Sparks and was reunited with her college coach, Carol Ross, who was an assistant coach for the Sparks at the time.
She remembers the experience of being a Mississippi girl on Rodeo Drive.
“It was a great experience, and for my family to come and be able to see it was all I truly wanted,” Herrington said.
Herrington’s final stop in the WNBA was at the nation’s capitol. She signed to play with the fairly new Washington Mystics in 2015.
“Out of my nine seasons, I have no regrets,” Herrington said. “I am grateful that basketball was able to take me across the world and across the country. It’s something I’ll never forget to tell my kids, but I’m also not anxious to get back out of retirement. I think I’ve served my time.”
Her basketball career took her across the nation and worldwide to countries like Russia, Israel, Spain and Turkey.
Herrington has found her way back in Oxford and Ole Miss, serving as an assistant coach for the women’s basketball under Matt Insell. Insell re-hired Herrington after she coached from 2009-12 under Renee Ladner.
“I love the atmosphere and everyone here and couldn’t think of a better situation,” Herrington said. “I am grateful for the chance to come back. I want the best for this team and hope that they are great and go beyond where I went. I want them to make it to the final four.”
Herrington said she is here to stay at Ole Miss for as long as she can benefit the basketball program.
“I don’t know what God has in store for me, but I am open to it when it comes to my University of Mississippi,” Herrington said. “I am always open to helping this school grow and be successful.”