Coach Gray inducted into East Forsyth Hall of Fame

Coach Gray inducted into East Forsyth  Hall of Fame
February 15
13:35 2023

Jan. 28 will forever hold a special place in the heart of Monty Gray.  No, it’s not a relative’s birthday or anniversary, but rather the day he was immortalized at East Forsyth High School by being inducted into the 2023 Hall of Fame class for the school. 

Gray, who is currently the varsity boys head basketball coach, is a 1992 graduate of East Forsyth where he was a three-year starter. Gray was selected to the region’s All-Northwest team in 1991 and ’92. He was honorable mention All-State as a senior when he averaged 16.5 points per game.

After his stellar prep career, Gray went on to play basketball on a scholarship at Winston-Salem State University under legendary head coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines. 

Gray has been the head coach for the Eagles since 2020 when he took over for interim head coach Adam Muse, who finished 5-19 the year before Gray arrived. Gray now has the Eagles as perennial playoff contenders and looks to make another run this season as well.

As an admittedly humble person, Gray does not like to boast or brag about himself, but hearing he would be inducted into the Hall of Fame for his alma mater gave him a sense of pride and thankfulness.

“The committee actually meets every other week in the main office and that is where my office is. I kind of heard rumblings about it at first and then I got the official email from the committee president and it just put a smile on my face,” Gray said about how he heard about his induction.

“I was a little shocked to be honest with you. I don’t like a lot of fuss about myself and usually I am trying to uplift and promote everybody else, but I had to kind of sit back and start bragging a little bit about myself and what I did back in the day.”

After hearing the news, Gray says it immediately brought back thoughts and memories of when he used to roam the halls of East Forsyth, along with the memories of his time on the court.

“It just took me back to when I was a player at East Forsyth way back in the day and just started having me reflect a little bit on my journey and the people that helped me along the way,” he said about how he felt after hearing the news. “Thankfulness as well, because if it wasn’t for the folks that helped me out during that time, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Coming in as a freshman at East Forsyth, Gray says he never envisioned his life would have turned out this way, let alone coming back to be the head coach.  

“Absolutely not,” Gray answered when asked if he thought his career was going to turn out so well. “When I talked at the banquet and received the award, I kind of shared with everybody that I made varsity as a ninth grader and I was just a bright-eyed bushy-tailed freshman that was just trying to figure things out.

“I was nervous about the opportunity to play varsity ball and being in high school. I was just trying to figure things out. My coach saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at the time. From there he kind of just guided me as a mentor all the way through high school. I didn’t start getting quality time until after my sophomore second semester and that’s when I kind of started making a name for myself. I just knew I loved basketball and I was hopeful to play on the college level at some point.”

Gray was unaware that they even had a banquet for hall of fame inductees initially. He says when he walked into the gym the night of the banquet, the gravity of the moment finally hit him. 

“I was just excited, I was ecstatic, and I was just overwhelmed with so many different emotions because I wasn’t expecting it,” Gray said about the night of the banquet. “I had my players there, my assistant coaches came, and it was just a really good night and it was fun.”

When he had the chance to break the news of his induction to his family and friends, Gray says everyone was happy for him due to the fact that he doesn’t like to boast about himself. 

“I can always tell my wife was happy because I don’t normally talk about myself, so I know she was happy I was getting the recognition,” said Gray. “I kind of told my son and my players, ‘See, I told y’all I could ball back in the day’ and I know they were happy for me as well. They were all smiles and they got dressed up for the old coach.

“My sons always feel like they could beat me in basketball, but I told them ‘you might be able to get me now, but way back when, you couldn’t touch me,’ so it was a good time for everybody.”

With his legacy on the court already cemented in history at East Forsyth, Gray is hoping he can have more of an impact as coach, not just for him but for the next generation of players that come under his tutelage.

“I want to be a player’s coach. I want to be able to get the most out of my players as much as possible,” Gray said about his coaching style. “I coach a lot with my heart and not my head a lot of times, and sometimes that can get me in trouble. I try to bring the best out of our players.

“Sometimes I try to give these kids an opportunity like I had way back when. But again, I want to do as much as I can because it’s not about the wins and losses and hopefully I can reach some of my players to maybe get into coaching or being good citizens and being good strong men to take care of their families and give back to their communities, so that’s what I’m trying to leave. If I can do that, I feel like I have done my job.”

Gray and his sons have become the first family of basketball at East Forsyth. His son Will is the reigning conference player of the year and son David is an up-and-coming player waiting for his turn to leave his mark on the school. Will has accepted a scholarship to UNC-Pembroke and has a chance to eventually join his dad in the Hall of Fame. David is also a high-level player who could also leave an unforgettable mark in the Eagles’ history books as well. 

The Gray family name will never be forgotten in the history of East Forsyth basketball.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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