Prep Basketball: Misenheimer shooting for East comeback
GRANITE QUARRY — Kurt Misenheimer can still shoot.
He said he wins about half of his long-range competitions with East Rowan’s current 3-point bomber Logan Shuping.
“It’s been even on the basketball court, but he’s not going to get me on the golf course,” Miseneheimer said with a laugh.
Misenheimer, jayvee coach and varsity assistant the past three seasons, has been announced as East Rowan’s head boys basketball coach. That means he’ll be coaching Shuping, an East Carolina golf commit, and the rest of a senior group led by talented guards Bravon Goodlett and Austin Love and aggressive forward Naquis Caldwell.
Previous coach Trey Ledbetter guided the Mustangs for five seasons. He resigned in July.
Misenheimer is only 26, not far removed from his playing days. He was a four-year varsity player for the Mustangs and part of some of the finest teams in school history. East won two conference tournaments and a Sam Moir Christmas Classic while Misenheimer was in uniform.
“I’m still young enough to get out on the court and show the guys what I want done as well as tell them about it,” Misenheimer said.
Misenheimer scored 693 career points, which places him among the school’s all-time top 25 scorers.
He scored 10.9 points per game his senior year. That was 2006-07 when the Mustangs, who also had Justin Vanderford, Kenan McKenzie, Spenser Davis, Trey Holmes and Shawn Eagle, were 23-5 while competing in the 4A Central Piedmont Conference.
“I was a shooter,” Misenheimer. “I understood my role. We had guards who could penetrate and kick to the open man.”
The Mustangs were 18-9 against a 4A schedule Misenheimer’s junior year.
East was still playing in the 3A classification Misenheimer’s sophomore season, and the Mustangs finished 24-6 and had their avid fan base going crazy before losing to Crest in the Western Regional championship game.
“I played with good players and for knowledgeable coaches — Jim Young and Greg McKenzie,” Misenheimer said. “Then I learned a lot from Matt Ridge playing a year for him at Davidson County Community College. Coach Ridge runs some of the best practices and toughest workouts you’ll ever see.”
Misenheimer finished his education at Appalachian State and earned a business degree. Coming out of college, he hadn’t planned on a teaching/coaching career, but in the summer of 2012 he got a call from Kelly Sparger, who was East Rowan’s principal.
“He said East had an opening for a business teacher and a jayvee basketball coach,” Misenheimer said. “I went back and forth on it for a little while, but I decided it was a unique opportunity to work at the school I graduated from. There were some long nights — driving the jayvee bus, coaching the jayvee game, watching the girls varsity game, and then helping out Trey with the boys varsity.”
Those SPC quadruple-headers — especially when there are three in a single week — can make you old in a hurry, but Misenheimer paid his dues and liked what he was doing.
“Trey and (former head coach) Rick Roseman were great coaching mentors for three years,” Misenheimer said.
Kurt’s move up at East has placed his parents, Steve and Mary, in an unusual situation. Their daughter, Brooke, has been the girls head coach at Carson since the school opened.
When East plays Carson, the Misenheimers may have to switch seats after the girls game and move to the other side of the gym for the boys action.
“When East plays Carson, we might have to get one of those half-and-half shirts, half Carson orange and half East blue,” Steve said. “But we’ll figure it out. We’re just excited for Kurt.”
When Brooke was starting out at Carson, the Cougars didn’t have a chance. Carson was 4-67 her first three seasons, although the Cougars have been a strong 98-67 since those early growing pains.
Kurt is thankful he’s going in to a different situation, with an established program and with talented seniors who could suit up for anyone in the SPC.
Still, his eyes are wide open. He knows it won’t be easy.
“Rowan should be good, Concord, Hickory Ridge and Cox Mill will always be good, and now Robinson is part of the SPC, and they’re really strong,” Misenheimer said.
The SPC has been difficult for the Mustangs. They’re 7-25 in conference play the last two seasons, including a 3-17 mark against the Cabarrus schools.
Misenheimer said East is still seeking a new jayvee coach. His main adviser will be John Cherry, who has coached on the middle school, high school and college levels. He’s also signed up ex-teammate Darren Cozart. Cozart is director of operations and sales for the Kannapolis Intimidators, but he’s available as a hoops assistant during the fall and winter months.
East is 42-116 the last seven seasons, but Misenheimer is looking ahead, not behind.
“We’ll be getting started soon,” he said. “Four-man workouts, then fall league and weightlifting. “We’re excited about the challenge. We believe we can compete.”