2009 All-Rowan County Basketball, Coach of the Year: Salisbury’s Jason Causby
By Ronnie Gallagher
Jason Causby will tell you he thinks his Salisbury boys should go undefeated every year.
When this season started, there was no change in that thinking. This was his fifth year as the head man. He had talent up and down the roster. He was excited.
And then, Salisbury lost its opener to South Rowan 75-72.
Point guard Thaddeus Williams, Causby’s coach on the floor, remembers the post-game talk.
“He grounded us because we came out thinking we were going to beat South,” Williams said. “He told us to keep playing steady and everything would fall into place.”
It was here that you realize how far Causby has come in those five years. There was no angst, no yelling, no finger-pointing.
“We didn’t push the panic button,” Causby recalled. “We outscored them as far as field goals. We just put our hands on them too much defensively. If we cleaned that up, we could be pretty good.”
Pretty good? How about coaching the Hornets to 28 straight wins after that opening loss?
How about coaching the regular season and tournament champions?
How about being ranked No. 1 in the state?
How about being named 2009 Rowan County coach of the year?
Every coach in the county realized there was something special happening on Lincolnton Road this season, especially the coach who beat Causby in the opener: John Davis.
“Once they started to jell, I knew they’d be pretty good,” the South coach said.
West Rowan coach Mike Gurley, the 2008 coach of the year, won 25 games. But midway through the season, he said of Causby (a West graduate, by the way) “It’s Causby’s year.”
Williams believed in his coach and helped carry out Causby’s orders.
“His system is playing defense,” Williams said. “He wants you to work all the time, especially in practice. It will show up in games.”
“Jason’s not stupid,” Gurley added. “He played for Charlie Hellard at West. If you play defense, you’re going to be successful.”
Causby agreed. “Our points came on defensive stops and turnovers. I don’t care about offense. We need to lock down on defense. We’re too athletic not to be able to score points.”
Not only did Williams buy into the system, so did assistants Terry Johnson and Skip Davis.
“I’d be foolish to take all the credit,” Causby said. “The combination of really good kids and the (assistants) are the reason we did what we did.”
The only time he felt any pressure was the regular-season finale at Providence Grove. Win that game and he knew he’d be ranked No. 1 in 2A basketball. It happened.
“It’s gratifying that the kids worked their butts off for four years,” he said. “But we still lost our last game, so that motivates us more for next year.”
“Jason’s imprint is on the program now,” Gurley said. “There used to be challenges to his authority. But these kids are buying into it. They know how much he cares and how much he works for them.”
A 28-2 record led to Causby winning practically every coach’s award in sight ó from conference to district to county.
It makes the coach of Causby’s alma mater proud. “That’s not bad for the 299th career all-time leading scorer at West Rowan,” Gurley said with a laugh.