Josh Pittman to lead Phoenix boys’ basketball team

Josh Pittman, head basketball coach at Winston-Salem Prep.

Josh Pittman to lead Phoenix boys’ basketball team
December 02
12:50 2021

The Phoenix of Winston-Salem Prep’s boys’ basketball team will be led by Winston-Salem legend Josh Pittman. After previous coaching stops at Carter G. Woodson and Lexington High School, Pittman is anxious to show what he can do on the sidelines in front of his hometown.

Pittman will take over for Bill Tibbs as the head coach of the Phoenix. Pittman was hired in July and has had a few months to implement his strategy with his players. He likes the makeup of his team and feels they can immediately compete and hopes to return WS Prep to their past glory.

“I went through the hiring process and I interviewed, and I just loved everything about it,” Pittman said. “Not to mention that I went to Atkins Middle School, which is now Winston-Salem Prep. I grew up in the neighborhood and I knew Tibbs was on his way out. He took over after (Andre) Gould, but I know he really didn’t want to keep coaching.

“I just realized that it was a chance for me to come back home and a chance for me to coach in Winston-Salem. When I talked to Dr. Gabriel, everything just fell into place and people like Porsche Jones were pushing me to come back. I just jumped on it, it felt right, and I felt like it was time to come back.”

Pittman has an exemplary background playing basketball on all levels. He was a standout player at East Forsyth High School before heading off to UNC-Asheville to play basketball, where he is in the UNC-Asheville and Big South Hall of Fame for his efforts.

Pittman also played basketball professionally at several stops overseas for 17 seasons. He played at the top level in Argentina, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela.

“I always was just able to hold my own,” he said about his game. “I won a couple of MVP’s, won a couple of championships, and I just really enjoyed the experience. The experience, the chance to make money, the chance to help your family out in ways that you never would imagine, and to live that life as a professional basketball player is something dreams are made of.”

Being around the game was very important to Pittman. He knew that he could not play forever and after playing for the Argentinian National Team, he was able to play for some great coaches, which triggered his urge to coach.

“Playing for those coaches, I learned so much, just about the basics and being on point with your practices and having each detail down,” he said. “I just started picking it up and I knew I couldn’t play forever, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to just let the game go. So, I knew I could coach and learn and keep teaching the game that I love.”

Pittman took over in July as head coach and the Spanish teacher for Prep. He says they are a young team, but they are talented at the same time. He feels if the guys continue to buy in, there will be a lot of success on and off the court for his team.

“They are starting to understand that they need to carry themselves as students first and athletes second,” Pittman said about his team. “They are starting to get that the discipline part is key, not only in basketball, but also in life. They work extremely hard for me and that’s one thing that I love. I was a player so I can relate to the players on that level. They work hard, they practice hard, and they are pushing to be the best they can possibly be.”

Being that he has played on the professional level, Pittman feels that gives him a little more credibility with his players. He can also get out there on the floor and show them film of what he wants to see from them on the court.

Learning from his previous coaching positions was something Pittman was intentional about and plans on bringing all he learned with him to Prep. At Carter G. Woodson, he literally had to build a program from the ground up. He developed the players fundamentally and built a successful program there. At Lexington, he says he had a good group of players that people didn’t think too much of and was successful there as well, even getting a couple of his players full rides to play on the next level.

“Coming back here at Winston-Salem Prep, it just seemed like it’s all combined,” he said about his players. “I have athletes, I have kids that love to play the game, love to practice, and love to work, and now it’s just helping them find their identity as a team and play the way I see us playing.”

Wins and losses will come, Pittman said. He feels it’s more important for his team to finish the year better than how they started it. “I want to see us playing our best basketball when the year is coming to an end, because that means I have taught the game right, the players have developed and matured, and they understand our concepts and what we are trying to do on the court,” Pittman continued.

For Pittman, he says he is not concerned about any pressure because of the past success the boys basketball team enjoyed under coach Gould. He is more concerned about going in and establishing his program at WS Prep and will focus 100% on that.

Pittman says he is very excited to finally get the opportunity to coach in front of his hometown. He says playing overseas prevented a lot of people from seeing him play professionally, so now that he is at Prep, those people will get the chance to see him coach.

“It just means a lot and makes my heart smile and my soul happy,” he said about coaching in Winston-Salem. “My mom and all my people get to come to the game and cheer us on. My son will be able to come to some games next year when he gets a little bit older. It just sets the foundation for what’s to come.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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