03/29/13 — WCDS' Perry resigns

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WCDS' Perry resigns

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 29, 2013 1:47 PM

Eric Perry made his toughest coaching decision Thursday morning.

He's no longer guiding the Wayne Country Day varsity girls' basketball program.

Perry tendered his resignation with athletics director Michael Taylor and informed the team after their meeting.

"It's been a long time coming with the sacrifices that you have to make as a coach with a family," Perry said. "God just put it in my heart that it was time and I had to do it sooner than later because of the offseason coming up. I had to be fair to Michael and the new coach that they hire."

Taylor said the search for Perry's successor will begin immediately. Perry's announcement came 13 days after Terry Jones resigned as the boys' varsity basketball coach.

"I would like to thank Coach Perry for all of his hard work with the girls," Taylor said. "We are really going to miss him and his leadership in the program over the last six years."

When Perry arrived at Wayne Country Day, girls' basketball seemed an afterthought and was overshadowed by the boy's program, which was a perennial fixture in the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A playoffs.

Perry diligently worked to change the program's atmosphere and upgraded the non-conference schedule to prepare his team for the postseason. Some varsity players quit during his first year and he was forced to disband the JV program to suit up enough players.

"We were finally left with girls who were there for the right reason and they wanted to play basketball ... bought into what we were doing," Perry said.

Wayne Country Day advanced to the elite eight during Perry's first season on the bench. The Chargers claimed the program's first-ever state championship in 2009 and were later recognized as the NPSAA Division IV national champions by an Internet publication.

Perry's 2010 squad emerged the state runner-up and his next two teams advanced to the state semifinals. The Chargers fell in the elite eight this past winter.

Banners hanging in the school's gymnasium acknowledge Perry's accomplishments during his six-year tenure. He won three Coastal Plains Independent Conference championships and was named the league's coach-of-the-year on three occasions.

Perry coached three all-state players -- Bridgette Briggs, Catherine Ford and Sarah Best. Ford became the program's first-ever three-time all-state selection and was selected the News-Argus All-Area girls' basketball player-of-the-year in 2011 and 2012.

"I wanted to leave the program in a better place than it was when I started," said Perry, who compiled a career record of 102-51. "I'm proud of the fact that we were in the mix to win the state championship every year. Over the years I've learned a lot and I hope the girls have learned a lot, and use the vehicle of basketball to help through their daily lives.

"We've had success, but it's the relationships with the girls that are more important than conference and state championships."