David West -- C.B. Aycock
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 23, 2010 1:47 PM
PIKEVILLE -- David West has accepted another challenge.
This one doesn't involve sports, however.
West completed his administrative degree this summer and resigned two weeks ago as varsity men's basketball coach at Charles B. Aycock. He began his new job as assistant principal at North Johnston High School last week.
"It's a good career move for me ... the right decision," said the 50-year-old West. "I'm going to miss the kids and miss the competitiveness that I was involved in for the last few years. Leaving on a year like we had last year, it was better to leave on top than during the rebuilding process."
The Golden Falcons finished winless four seasons ago and broke the skid the following year. West's 2008-09 team played strong during the non-conference portion of their schedule, but couldn't find a consistent winning formula during league play.
That changed this past winter.
Aycock compiled a program-record 24 victories, shared the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference regular-season title and claimed the tournament crown. The Golden Falcons' remarkable run ended with a loss to eventual state champion Rocky Mount in the N.C. High School Athletic Association sectional finals.
It was the program's first league title since 1994 and just its third appearance in the sectional finals since 1995.
"We have built the program back to respectability now," said West. "It's hard to leave, but it's good to know that whoever steps into that role will have an easier go than we've had the last couple of years. It was fun rebuilding and seeing that freshman class grow."
A successor for West has not been named.
Charles Davis, the school's athletics director, said the administration could name a new coach as early as Wednesday.
"It's going to be tough because David, number one, he is a first-class individual who always did what was right," said Davis. "Number two, he always did what was right for the program and the kids. He's going to be missed.
"It's (administration) something he wanted to get in to, and as good a person as he is, he's going to make a good administrator."
West's coaching career started in 1983 when he guided a group of 9- to 12-year-old girls to prominence in a Garner softball league. He came to Wayne County in 1996 and served as assistant football coach to Larry Sasser at Norwayne Middle School.
When Scott Sauls left to enter the ministry in the late 1990s, West took over the boys' basketball program at Norwayne. The Cobras won back-to-back Wayne County Middle School Athletic Conference Division I championships with future Golden Falcon standouts Thomas Presley, Jason West, Brian Grant, Decandis Pitt, JaJuan Fuller, Antwan Holmes, etc.
West spent time as Randy Pinkowski's assistant in varsity and JV football, and took over the softball program in 2002 after Al Yelverton turned it into a powerhouse. In 2003, he accepted the varsity boy's basketball job at Aycock -- the same day his daughter, Kayla, was born.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity that people in Wayne County gave me for teaching and coaching, and there have been a lot of people who have helped me along the way," said West, who reeled off a list of numerous administrators and fellow coaches. "I've spent the last few years of my life in the classroom and have been coaching some type of ball since the 80s. You form a lot of relationships and you look at the kids that you've had, the ones you've got (now) and the ones you're going to have.
"It's an ongoing cycle."
Aycock is expected to return seven players off last year's record-setting squad -- Brandon Winford, Shep Whitfield, Artemus Taylor, Antwan Williams, Cameron Rowe, Randall Fulghum and Matt Yelverton. West cannot wait to see how the group performs on the court.
He definitely won't forget his last team.
"That's always going to be special and I'm going to look at that for a long time and remember how fortunate I was to share that with them," said West. "I know I am going to miss it, but I have to find a way to fill up that "miss" with what I'm doing now.
"At least I still get to work with the kids, and that's what it's all about."