Cherry leaves after one seaason
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 29, 2009 1:46 PM
Goldsboro High needs a new boys' basketball coach.
Chris Cherry, who guided the Cougars this past season, accepted the head coaching position at South Central in Winterville on Wednesday.
Less than a year ago, Cherry considered Goldsboro his "dream job" when he replaced Tod Morgan, who spent one season with the 2-A program before heading to Chapel Hill High School.
Now, the tradition-rich program is seeking its sixth head coach since the late Norvell T. Lee retired from Goldsboro in 1994.
"Anytime you make a professional decision, I always feel like you have to make the best decision that is best for you professionally," said Cherry. "If you don't take the opportunity to look at those then I feel you're doing yourself a disservice."
Cherry, the 2009 News-Argus coach of the year, guided Goldsboro to a 19-9 record and the Eastern Plains 2-A Conference regular-season championship. The Cougars lost in the EPC finals to North Lenoir and their season ended with a controversial semifinal-round loss in the sectional playoffs.
South Central won the Coastal 3-A Conference regular-season title with head coach Jerry Woodside, who retired after 34 years of coaching. He spent the final four with the Falcons.
Cherry interviewed for the position in early May and accepted the job last Friday. He was officially introduced as the head coach Wednesday and WNCT-TV broke the story late that afternoon.
As of Thursday afternoon, Cherry had not informed Goldsboro's players of his decision.
"I'm sure some of them will be disappointed about having to go through another coach," said Cherry, who has compiled 206 career victories. "That's part of life. There's turmoil and turnover and you just have to deal with those situations. The kids did a great job buying into a new system.
"We had a great year and I think I left the program in better shape than when I got it."
Goldsboro will officially join the Carolina 1-A Conference when the new high school realignment takes place June 1. Cherry insists the program's transition into the 1-A ranks never factored into his decision.
"That wasn't really an issue," said Cherry. "I knew about that move before I took the job at Goldsboro."
The Cougars started last season 0-3 as they adapted to Cherry's system and waited for the football players to join the team.
"It was confusing, we didn't know what he wanted," rising junior guard Devonte White said of Cherry. "All the seniors were playing football, and as freshman and sophomores we were new to varsity. We didn't understand and then when the seniors came, we stepped up our game.
"We didn't have a lot of trust in coach (Cherry) until around the time the conference season started."
A new adjustment period begins once Cherry's successor has been named. Trusting a new voice in the huddle and learning a new scheme will be difficult.
"Most of our team is going to be confused when we get ready to play," said White. "It makes us feel like we have good talent in our school and the coaches don't want to coach us. Coach Cherry still hasn't said anything to us.
"We had to find out on TV. Personally, I feel betrayed. Now, I have to play my hardest for another coach that knows nothing about this team."
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