Grier looks to change fortunes for East Forsyth girls’ basketball team

Aaron Grier led the East Forsyth girls’ basketball team to a share of the conference title this season.

Grier looks to change fortunes for East Forsyth girls’ basketball team
May 19
13:32 2021

Aaron Grier and the Lady Eagles varsity basketball team had a very successful season this year. After posting a 13-2 record, and an appearance in the second round of the playoffs, Grier is hoping to continue building a standard of excellence and a winning tradition for the girl’s basketball team at East Forsyth.

Grier, a Bronx, New York native, has been at East Forsyth for four years, three of them as the head coach. He has taken the team from a sub .500 team to perineal conference title contenders in a few short years.

Working with the youth is nothing new for Grier. He has been helping young people in sports since he was a teenager. While living in New York, Grier would work with the neighborhood kids in multiple sports like football, basketball and baseball.

“Growing up in New York, I did a lot for the youth,” said Grier. “It was something that I transported from my days back home in New York, to bringing a different style here to North Carolina.”

Once he made the move to North Carolina, Grier would play pickup basketball games in the High Point area. From there he got into the Parks and Recreation Department and got into coaching basketball.

Grier is the founder of the Carolina Stars (formerly High Point Stars) AAU program. They have over 140 kids in the program spread across 14 teams. The program is for girls and boys serving young people from the third grade all the way up to high school.

“We played in our first games and the parents enjoyed it and they said we should just coach AAU basketball,” Grier said about how he started his Carolina Stars AAU program. “I did my research on it and we put together our first teams in 2005.

After years of running a successful AAU program, Grier was blessed with the opportunity to join the coaching staff of the East Forsyth girls’ basketball team under then-coach Mike Ross.  

“We had talked with one another around 2015 and he said that one day we would connect,” he said about his conversation with Ross. “Out of the blue, one summer day he called and asked if I was ready because he got the job at East Forsyth. I have been at East ever since.”

Grier said it was a shock when Ross resigned his position as head coach and it wasn’t the ideal way he wanted to earn the job; however, he was thankful for the opportunity.

“I just wanted to come in and change the program positively and make an impact on the Kernersville/Forsyth County community,” he said. “It was just a great honor for me, because we all know they are strong on the football side with boys’ sports, but I’m trying to make the girls’ sports stand out too.”

The winning percentage of the team has increased every year since Grier has been on staff. His first year as an assistant the team was 8-15. In his first season as head coach, the team improved to 10-15 and earned a playoff berth. For his second season, the team went 16-9 and went to the third round of the playoffs. This season was his best so far at 13-2 and co-champions of the Central Piedmont 4A conference. The Lady Eagles lost in the second round of this year’s playoffs to Charlotte Independence.  

“It was a great accomplishment for us to see the growth in the program,” he continued.  

Grier has coached boys, but says he prefers coaching girls because they normally have less arrogance than the boys.

“I love girls’ basketball and I think I fell in more with the girls’ side of coaching because the girls are easier to teach and you don’t have to deal with the ego as much as with the boys,” he said. “With the boys, if you don’t get them early and kind of mold them to where you want to be, then it can be kind of tough.”

Coming in as an assistant at East, Grier’s goal was to be a sponge and absorb as much information as he could. He knew the ins and outs of travel basketball and wanted to learn just as much about high school ball as well.

“I thought that it couldn’t be too much different from travel basketball, but I knew it was certain things we could do at the travel ball level that we couldn’t do in high school,” he stated. “So, I wanted to get my feet wet and take notes on how to run practice and things like that.

“I was just being a sponge the first couple of months, not knowing in January they would ask me to be the interim coach to finish out the season. I was like, ‘wow.’  My mouth dropped and I came home and talked to my wife and she supported me on the move, so I had to dig deep and bring out some of my old coaching books and I just got busy.”

As the interim coach, Grier wanted to finish out the season on a positive note and leave a good impression with administration.  

“I heard so many things about East basketball and I wanted to make a difference,” he said. “I had the opportunity and I wanted to make sure I had a good chance of getting the head coaching job, so my goal was to finish the season strong.”

After receiving the head coaching position, Grier focused on making the team better and reestablishing a strong JV program at East Forsyth. He says he had high aspirations, but did not have any expectations of what the job would bring.

“I just went in there with a game plan,” he went on to say. “My goal was to get in there and make them better and get better myself each and every year.”

When it comes to the team he had this season, Grier is extremely proud of what they were able to accomplish. Fighting through a pandemic to become conference co-champions is quite the accomplishment. Grier feels if they could have had a full season without any players having to sit out due to quarantine, there is no telling how far his team could have gone.

With the talent he had on the team, coupled with what the other teams in the conference lost to graduation and transfer, Grier felt this team could be very successful. Their only regular season loss was to West Forsyth early in the season and they avenged that loss later on.

Grier stated it was somewhat of a letdown that he didn’t win the conference coach of the year award, but says Lindsey Adams was also deserving of the title. He thought he had done enough to earn the award, especially due to the fact the previous three winners of the award had also won the conference. Grier was honored as the Northwest Coach of the Year by the Winston-Salem Journal.

“I thought everything was pretty much over and then I got a call about a vote for the All-Northwest and I put my vote in not assuming I would be voted Northwest Coach of the Year,” he said about winning the award. “It was a blessing for me and my hard work and the player support, because without them this wouldn’t have been possible. And also for my family support for pushing me on those long days.”

Grier’s daughter, Briana, is one of his assistant coaches. She is a recent graduate of Belmont Abbey College where she played four years on the basketball team. Grier thought it would be good for the young ladies on his team to hear what it takes to make it on the next level from someone who is the same gender and has played there, as well as being closer to their age.

“Bri was definitely a big part of this team and pretty much the brain of the offense, because I am more of a defensive coach,” Grier said about his daughter. “She taught the girls and they kind of cling to her and it gives the girls someone to relate to. She was not only an assistant coach, she was there to give them guidance as well.”

With the quick success Grier has enjoyed thus far, he wants to eventually bring a state championship back to the school. In the meantime, he wants to continue developing young female basketball players.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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