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Walkertown finds new leader for basketball team

Richard Daniels Jr. (right), stands with his assistant coach Kedrick Carpenter in his new home gym at Walkertown High School.

Walkertown finds new leader for basketball team
October 07
14:09 2020

Walkertown High School has been searching for Kevin Thompson’s replacement since he stepped down as head basketball coach earlier this year. Their search is now over, as they have hired Richard Daniels Jr. for the position.

Thompson led the Wolfpack for four seasons, leading the team to a Western Piedmont Athletic 2-A championship and a conference tournament title along the way. Daniels led the JV basketball team for Glenn High School prior to taking over the Wolfpack program.

There were several openings for a head coaching position around the county and Daniels applied to several, but feels that Walkertown is the best place for him to have his first head coaching position.

“Walkertown popped open and I didn’t think I wanted to do another interview, but after talking to my family, I thought it was the best thing to apply for the Walkertown job,” Daniels said about his thought process prior to being hired. “It’s one of the newer facilities, I knew who the athletic director was, and was just ready for the next chapter in my life.

“Coaching JV and coaching travel basketball kind of prepared me for a head coaching position, so I thought it was time.”

Upon hearing he was selected for the position, Daniels said it took a few days for the news to sink in.

“Once I talked to the principal and the athletic director, I was just thinking, this is really it, so I am definitely excited for it,” he said.

With pandemic restrictions still in place, Daniels has yet to meet with his team as a whole.  His goal is to initially build trust with his players while establishing his rules and philosophy.

“You want to come in and establish the culture first, before you start anything else,” he said. “We just want to come in and take what we have learned in the past and kind of building that into what we want to do at this school. I think they have some talent there.”

Daniels said it was “bittersweet” having to leave his team at Glenn. That was his first coaching position following his graduation from college and he spent six years with the Bobcats.

“Of course the boys that are over there, I’ve established a relationship with them, but like I told them, I’ve done my part to help Glenn and it was time to do something for myself and step out there on that leap of faith,” he went on to say.

As a first-time head coach, Daniels is confident because he feels he has a supportive coaching and administrative staff to lean on. He said when it comes to the basketball aspect of the job, he has no worries.

“It’s a lot of bad basketball out there and the culture of the game has changed anyway, so establishing discipline and getting kids to understand about being complete players.  Right now, it’s either dunking or a three-point shot and that’s the game, but we want to show them the things that people don’t teach them.”

Daniels has been waiting for his opportunity to lead a program and has known who he wanted on his coaching staff for two years. Joining him at Walkertown will be Aaron Bailey, Mike Grace, Kedrick Williams, Kenny Anderson and Kedrick Carpenter.

Carpenter comes over after a very successful tenure as the JV head coach of the Mt. Tabor basketball team, winning two Lash/Chronicle Tournaments and consistently fielding one of the best teams in the county year in and year out.

“I was pacing for the past two or three weeks, doing the pros and cons,” said Carpenter. “It was a bunch of mixed emotions, but at the end of the day, Richard is family, and this is one of the things we always talked about. We said whoever gets a program first, we would be the other’s assistant.

“From there it was a no-brainer. This is the first time we can say that this is our program. We can make it how big we want it, or we can make our bed and lie in it and sleep, but knowing how hard this guy [Daniels] works, I am real confident in his vision.”

With only 14 games on the schedule, Daniels said he will not be counting wins as a way to constitute a successful season. He would rather measure success based on the development of his players.

“I think just seeing growth from the day we start practice until the last game of the season and the players getting better, for us to see everyone get on the same page is success for me.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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