East Forsyth Eagles tap one of their own to lead boys’ hoops

Monty Gray will take over as East Forsyth’s new boys’ basketball head coach.

East Forsyth Eagles tap one of their own to lead boys’ hoops
July 21
13:56 2020

The East Forsyth Eagles have decided upon Monty Gray as their next boys’ basketball head coach. Gray, an East Forsyth alumnus, will now run the program he played for in the early 1990s.

Gray takes over for Adam Muse, who resigned in April to take over the reigns as the boys’ head basketball coach at Reagan High School.

According to Gray, he expressed interest in the job to see what type of coach they were looking for and if he may be a good fit for the position.  As it turns out, he was. 

“I reached out to them because Kernersville is right here in my backyard and the school is right down the street from my house,” said Gray. “I reached out to ask some questions about the job and one thing led to another and got the interview and here we are.

“I just wanted to ask some basic questions about what was going on with the school now. I have been around the block a little bit and when you graduate high school, you try to leave it in the past, but for some reason East Forsyth kept coming up during my career.”

Gray said he began thinking more about the position once schools were shut down due to COVID-19. Once he heard he was selected as head coach, he said he was overly excited.

“I was actually on the golf course when everything was said and done and I was so excited I couldn’t even play golf the rest of the time I was out there,” Gray said about hearing the news he was selected for the position. “I was shaking, happy, and I called my wife and my mom and dad to let them know the good news. Everything just flashed back to me being with Donnie Holt, people like George Redd and Tim Wooten. I just fell right back into those old school days.”

Gray is known for turning around struggling programs as he did with Glenn, Reynolds and Forsyth Country Day, to some respect. Due to social distancing restrictions, he is attempting to find other ways to connect with his players at East.

“What I am going to do after this conversation is to reach out to all the players,” he said. “I just want to reach out and get a feel of what their individual goals are and introduce myself to them.  I want to set up a Zoom meeting with the families so they can have question and answer time with me. I am sure people are wondering who I am except from what they read in the papers.

“These are crazy times right now and if we can ever get back to the point when we can get in the gym, this is the time of the year where you get better. From March through September is where you go out to team camps and work on individual development and try to build that bond with your players.”

From coaching on the boys and girls side at different locations, Gray feels he has valuable experience that will assist him with the Eagles. He says that being an administrator also brings another dynamic to his coaching style.

“Now it’s just full circle,” he said about his new position. “With me going around the block a lot, trying to learn things and getting involved with different experiences, now I am back home. All those experiences mean so much to me because they make me the man who I am, makes me the coach who I am, and makes me the mentor who I am, so I am ready to have that East Forsyth brand back to when I played.”

With East Forsyth winning back-to-back state championships, the school has recently been known mostly for their football program. Gray’s plan is to bring prominence back to the basketball program as well so both can be celebrated for their excellence.

“My biggest thing is I am going to come in and spend some time with coach Willert (Todd) on what his process is and try to piggyback off of what he has done,” Gray said. “Once football season is over, it goes right into basketball season and you have a lot of talented players at that school.

“My main thing is we want to encourage. We are a school that has to share athletes and I have done that before when I was over at Glenn. The main thing you have to do is be consistent and I love the fact that they have won two state titles, but our program is not at that point right now. We don’t have that identity yet … and I said ‘yet.’  We are going to spend time doing the little things and continually grow.”

Gray said it would be “premature” to say they are going to go out and win a state championship in his first year. He says you have to establish your program first and see how it plays out in the first couple of years to build a winning tradition.  

“What I can say is we are going to do things to make us better,” he went on to say. “First of all, we are going to make sure we have highly academic kids to make sure the classroom is not going to be a problem. Second thing is, we will make sure we have standards we have to be accountable for. After that, we will look at different things to get better, like lifting weights, getting up 1,000 shots a week, and getting our bodies in shape.

“We are going to worry about those sorts of things, instead of worrying about the winning part of it. If we worry about that process, then everything else will fall into place. We just need to have a practical and realistic approach, especially in times like these.”

Gray said he is grateful to have so many individuals from the community behind him, but feels it is a “little scary” because the expectations will accompany that.

“When you grow up in Winston, of course people are going to know you, but it’s a little scary because all eyes are on you and it’s almost in a sense like you have a target on your back, not necessarily to do anything bad, but people notice what you’re doing,” he said. “I look forward to it and I appreciate the love I have received since I got the job. It’s really something and surreal.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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