Prep Basketball: East’s Ledbetter steps down
By Mike London
GRANITE QUARRY — East Rowan athletic director Chad Mitchell announced via email Friday that Trey Ledbetter has resigned as the Mustangs’ head boys basketball coach.
Ledbetter didn’t mind talking about it. Actually, he sounded like a guy who’s had a huge weight fork-lifted off his shoulders.
“We’ve got a lot of good players at East Rowan right now and we had a great summer.” Ledbetter said. “But it’s the right time for me to step back. About three weeks ago, I came to a decision. I sat down with Chad and our principal (Julia Erdie), and they were understanding about it.”
Ledbetter, 32, has been coaching basketball at East Rowan for a decade — as jayvee coach, varsity assistant or varsity head coach. He’s been part of the program since the 2005-06 season when he was Greg McKenzie’s assistant, and even before that really, as a student athlete at East.
Ledbetter took over as head coach for a 1-20 season in 2010-11. The Mustangs dropped their first 12 during that campaign before ending a 28-game losing streak by nipping South Rowan.
In 2012-13, Ledbetter was viewed as a miracle worker and honored as Rowan County Coach of the Year. His team improved dramatically to 13-12 and made the 3A state playoffs with a core group of Hakeem Gittens, Jordan Shepherd, Jared Hough, Weston Rogers, Roby Holmes, Donte Means, Josh Gobble and Tyler L’Hommedieu.
The last three seasons have been 6-17, 4-18 and 9-14. The Mustangs have been 7-25 in the rugged South Piedmont Conference during the last two seasons.
The bottom line for Ledbetter as a head coach was 33-81. Not that he’s letting numbers define the last five years.
“I honestly had no idea what my record was and I wasn’t worried about it,” Ledbetter said. “I do know the program is in a whole lot better shape than it was when I took over. I feel good about where East Rowan basketball is right now.”
Ledbetter listed returners Isaac Baker, Austin Love, Bravon Goodlett and Logan Shuping, freshman Brevin Goodlett and transfer Josh Handy as the nucleus of what could be a good East Rowan team next season.
“People have asked me why I’m walking away now when we’ve got quite a bit of talent,” Ledbetter said. “I tell them it’s just the right time for East Rowan to get a great new basketball coach.”
Mitchell said the Mustangs have listed the job opening and are soliciting applications.
“We want to maintain as much continuity in the program as possible,” Mitchell said. “But we’re not going to rush.”
Ledbetter said he’ll continue to work at East Rowan next school year and he vowed the basketball program won’t have a bigger supporter.
“East is where my heart is,” Ledbetter said. “It’s where I played and it’s where I’ve coached and I’ll be the biggest fan there is of the school and whoever they hire to replace me. I’m just ready to watch basketball for a while. I’m ready to have a little less stress.”
When Oct. 31 rolls around and practice officially starts, Ledbetter knows he’ll miss the challenge of trying to compete in the SPC.
He jokes that his wife is going to be aggravated with him, but he’s confident he’s made the right decision.
“When it’s 9 p.m. this basketball season, I won’t be stomping my feet and running up and down the sideline,” Ledbetter said. “I’m looking forward to just yelling from the stands.”
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