Bears will be begin search for new
varsity boys’ basketball head coach
By CHRIS HOBBS
CLAREMONT – Dylan Johnson knows a great opportunity when he sees it, and it took one to draw him out of high school coaching.
Johnson, 29, is leaving after one season as varsity boys’ basketball coach at Bunker Hill to become an assistant principal at North Buncombe.
He starts there on Aug. 1, working on the staff of Principal Samantha Sircey.
Johnson came to Bunker Hill to replace Lee Swanson, who left the boys’ varsity job to coach the varsity girls when Randy Joines retired.
The Bears struggled last season — going 3-22 overall and finishing eighth in the Northwestern Foothills 2A (1-13) — and Johnson leaves with mixed emotions.
An opportunity to move into an administrative role this early in his educational career would be hard to pass by, Johnson said.
“We took some steps at getting better but it’s a process,” Johnson said of his season at Bunker Hill. “My pride wants to (stay and) turn the program around.”
Johnson, a second-generation prep coach, said he sought advice from those who have gone from coaching into administration, especially about knowing he could step away from coaching and be happy.
“(They said) make sure you can do it (the new job) full bore,” Johnson said. “Don’t half-butt it. Do it all the way or don’t do it at all.”
Less than three months after earning a Master’s in School Administration from Western Carolina, Johnson applied for the job at North Buncombe thinking the learning the process of moving from teaching to administration would be a good experience.
“Lo and behold, I was able to get it (the job),” said Johnson, whose contract was approved by the Buncombe County Schools Board of Education on Tuesday.
Johnson first learned of the opening from a friend in his National Guard group. He applied, was interviewed within a few weeks and offered the job the next day.
Johnson’s a former college player, two years as a small forward at Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) and two years at Warren Wilson College.
His dad, Tommy, won 500 games as a varsity boys’ basketball coach in 28 seasons (32 in education) at Wilkes Central, North Wilkes, Canton Pisgah, Robbinsville and Perquimans, and his brother, Ty, is about to enter his second season as varsity boys’ head coach at Cox Mill.
Dylan Johnson said he sought out his dad, Bunker Hill ex-football coach and current principal Lee Miller and Rob Bliss — recently named varsity boys’ basketball head coach at Bandys and a former principal at Maiden and South Caldwell — as he began to gauge what the job offer in Buncombe County meant.
Johnson and his wife have two young children, and moving into an administrative role before he turned 30 will benefit his family, he said.
“I have mixed emotions,” he said. “It benefits my family in the long run … and I saw myself interested in administration. I’d like to be a principal or superintendent someday. It’s a positive to get an opportunity.”
Bunker Hill will hire its seventh varsity boys’ basketball head coach since 1980 when it replaces Dylan Johnson. The others: the late Mark Carter, Bobby Lutz (assistant at Nebraska), Jim Woodruff (retired), Matt Wilkinson (head boys’ coach at Newton-Conover), Swanson and Dylan Johnson.