Gallagher column: Roaming the county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2009

Roaming the county, getting ready for tonight …A familiar face returns to a Rowan County gymnasium tonight when Providence Grove plays North Rowan in Spencer.
You remember Jim Young, right?
The man came down from Pennsylvania years ago with the reputation of turning programs around. I used to call him the prep version of Larry Brown.
He brought instant respect to a very mediocre Davie County boys program and would talk about how much he wanted to coach in Rowan County, which he considered a hotbed for high school hoops. He once told me he felt like he was in heaven coaching in front of 3,000 screaming fans at Catawba during the Sam Moir Christmas Classic.
After Young performed his magic at Davie, he surfaced at East Rowan and coached successful teams with the girls and the boys. His girls were 18-7 in 2003 (which turned into an 0-25 season due to an ineligible player). He took over the boys the following season and did the unthinkable. He coached the Mustangs to a winning record (14-13) and a playoff victory over Eastern Randolph, the school where he eventually turned up.
Now he’s at Randolph County’s newest school, Providence Grove.
In typical Young fashion, he has this second-year boys team 4-0 in the CCC.
Some things never change.
Young won’t be the only familiar face on the Providence Grove bench. His assistant is Curtis Rich, the father of some very good basketball-playing daughters at East Rowan.
There was a Nick Means sighting at Hall Gym the other night. The former star receiver at Catawba was coaching a youth-league basketball team.
Means talked about former Catawba head football coach David Bennett and current coach Chip Hester, who was in charge of the receivers when Means played.
“I do better with the older kids,” Means said. “I can talk to them like Coach Bennett.”
The younger kids?
“I have to talk to them like Coach Hester,” he said with a laugh.
North Rowan’s girls aren’t having a very good season, but the Cavs are playing teams that are.
When North lost to Ledford recently, it was Panthers coach John Ralls’ 600th career victory.
South Rowan isn’t churning out tons of college basketball players, but it is providing colleges with people who promote their athletes.
Remember Jason Corriher?
The South graduate is currently on the sports information staff at Ohio University. He is in charge of football.
Remember Mckenzie Hamrick?
She actually interned with the sports department here a few summers ago. Hamrick took that wealth of knowledge she was provided here (yeah, right) and has parlayed it into a job in the SID office at Loyola (Md.). Her title is athletic communications assistant, and she oversees volleyball, swimming and diving, cross country, track and tennis.
While we’re on the reunion tour, how’s former Salisbury girls coach Jennifer Shoaf doing at Patton High in Morganton?
After nine games, Patton was 3-6, already two wins better than all of last year.
There are two games in the county tonight.
East Rowan travels to South Rowan in what has become this season’s best rivalry. Both boys teams are tied for fourth in the NPC with West Iredell at 4-4. Both girls teams are tied for third at 6-2.
Carson goes to West. Surely the Cougar boys will give the Falcons a better showing than they did in a 79-35 loss last month.
The county’s best teams belong to Salisbury. The boys and girls have combined for a 25-2 record. They’ll travel to Lexington.
On the air …
The dynamic duo of Howard Platt and The Coach, Bob Parker, will be in the West Rowan gym tonight to call the Falcons and Carson on WSTP 1490-AM.
Go watch some high school basketball, folks. And be nice.
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or