McKenzie named West assistant
By Ronnie Gallagher
East Rowan basketball coach Greg McKenzie admits heís an emotional coach, but expect him to be a bit more calm next season.
iI wonít live and die with every game,î McKenzie said. iIíll have something else to think about to keep everything in perspective.î
What McKenzie will have in the back of his mind is July 20, 2009, the night of the East-West All-Star game.
He has always made plans to be in Greensboro for the game that showcases some of North Carolinaís best prep players. In fact, he was there last month to watch one of his Mustangs, Justin Vanderford, score five points for the West.
East Rowan will be represented for a second straight year, thanks to McKenzie. He has been named as the West assistant coach.
Amazingly, it will be the 13th straight year that Rowan County has produced an East-West all-star basketball coach or player .
Howard West is the Westís head coach. The former Winston-Salem Reynolds leader, who has four state championships under his belt, is now at Reagan.
iWeíll have a good time,î Mckenzie said. iHoward is so experienced. He has been everywhere and done everything.î
McKenzieís resume isnít too shabby either. Entering his 23rd season as a prep coach, he has done his best job in Granite Quarry, where he has spent the last four years. He is 65-20 with the Mustangs, including a 23-5 season in 2007-08.
iIíll tell you, when Phil Weaver (of the North Carolina Coaches Association) called, it took me by surprise,î McKenzie said.
One of the first people who called McKenzie with advice was Davidson County Community College coach Matt Ridge, who played at Ledford when McKenzie was an assistant in Wallburg under Robert Kent.
iHeís a recruiting maniac,î McKenzie laughed. iHe was giving me all the best players.î
McKenzie considers Kent, the current Greensboro Page coach, his mentor. Kent coached the West team two seasons ago. Another of McKenzieís good friends, Mike Absher of Davie County, was the West assistant last season.
iIíve already talked to Mike,î McKenzie said. iHe said that win or lose, it will be a lot of fun. The vocal point is being unselfish and getting players who are coachable.î
McKenzie has coached at Ledford, Southeast Guilford, Southwest Guilford, Northwest Cabarrus and East. Until now, he has thought only about team goals, not individual honors.
iThe longer you coach, you focus more on the kids,î McKenzie said. iI donít think about stuff like that. But Iím really honored. It charges you up.î
The head coach for the East boys will be David Dewey of South Johnston. His assistant is Todd Edge of Fayetteville Byrd.
The West girls will be coached by Ken Beatty of Forestview. His asssitant is Jeff Parham of South Caldwell.
The East girls will be led by Jamie Willoughby of Tarboro. The assistant is Lewis Cummings of Western Harnett.
The West football team will have an area flavor. Mooresvilleís Barclay Marsh and Albemarleís Baxter Morris are assistants to head coach Scott Cloninger of Lincolnton.
Raymond Cobb of Southwest Edgecombe is the head coach of the East.
Coaches were named for the Carolinas Basketball Classic. Reggie Peace of Lee County is the head man while John Harder of Eden Morehead is the assistant.
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