By CHRIS HOBBS
CLAREMONT – Randy Joines, whose second long run as an impactful teacher and coach endeared him to Bunker Hill High, is retiring.
Joines, the Bears’ head girls’ varsity basketball coach since 2010 and their softball coach since 2014, announced Friday this school year is his last.
He spent 20 years at North Wilkes High in his native Wilkes County before coming to Bunker Hill, a career that includes a 2017 induction into the North Wilkes High Hall of Fame in 2017.
Joines played high school sports at West Wilkes and graduated from Wingate in 1989, first working as an assistant coach for a legendary basketball coach, the late Ralph Hargett, for a year at Forest Hills before returning to Wilkes County.
When his teaching contract was not renewed at North Wilkes in 2010, he inquired about – and was hired – as a girls’ basketball coach and football assistant at Bunker Hill by then-principal Jeff Taylor and then-athletic director Jim Woodruff.
“I have every confidence that they will work hard to ensure that both the basketball and softball teams will continue to grow and be successful.
“I look forward to following and supporting the teams in the coming years. Once a Bear, always a Bear.”
Joines coached his nine girls’ varsity basketball teams at Bunker Hill to a record of 71-155, topped by last season’s 20-9 mark and tie for second place in the Northwestern Foothills 2A.
This season netted the Bears their first 20-win season since 2007-08 and came after they’d gone 11-40 in the two previous seasons. They also earned a fourth state playoff bid under Joines.
Bunker Hill won 89 softball games under Joines in six seasons, highlighted by reaching the West 2A championship series a year ago and getting to the fourth round this season. He was an assistant coach for two years before being promoted to head coach.
Joines’ unofficial coaching record in girls’ varsity basketball is 194-309 and his softball teams were 209-148 for a coaching record of 403-447.
Despite a losing basketball record, Joines was recognized by his peers in 2015 by being named the West head girls’ coach for the North Carolina Coaches Association (NCCA) East-West All-Star Game in Greensboro.
He was named a “Homer Thompson Eight Who Make a Difference” award winners by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) in 2003.
Once hired at Bunker Hill, Joines quickly became a welcoming figure at ‘The Hill’ and began working on rebuilding the girls’ basketball program.
“It was no secret I was looking because of the circumstances at North Wilkes…,” Joines said in a 2010 interview. “And anyone that knows the history of basketball, knows that (Bunker Hill) is a ‘history’ place. Any coach would cherish the opportunity to be there.”
Starting in 1992-93, Bunker Hill had 11 straight winning seasons with six straight 20-win years and eight of those in 11 years that included three trips to the West 2A Regionals.
When he came to Bunker Hill, he was only the fifth girls’ varsity basketball coach there in 32 years. He followed Randy Laws and the other head coaches were Terry Sipe (1980-85), Tommy Edwards (1985-2008) and Shane Compton.
Compton’s only team went 24-6 in 2008-09 and lost in a sectional final, and Laws’ only team went 3-21.
Joines’ first team (2010-11) was 2-12, his second team was 0-24 and his third team went 3-19.
After 16-11 and 13-11 records and two state playoff bids, the Bears went 4-21, 2-23 and then set the stage for last season by going 9-17 in 2017-18.
Bunker Hill Principal Lee Miller, a former Bears athlete and head football coach there, praised Joines for his contributions beyond coaching.
“Coach Joines has served Bunker Hill High School with passion, dignity, and a tireless work ethic for nine years,” Miller said in the press release. “His contributions to our school will have a lasting impact… He will be missed as a leader, mentor and friend.”
Joines said he’s just loved coaching and teaching, a role he knew he wanted to fulfill as early as when he was in the sixth grade.
“From the time I entered sixth grade back in 1977, I have known that I wanted to be a coach,” he said in the press release. “I was blessed early in my days as a player and as a young coach to work for and with some of the greatest in the game.
“In the classroom, as well, I was blessed to be with colleagues who were the best in the business.
“I know that my career has been successful because of the lifelong relationships I have had with administrators, fellow coaches, teachers, officials, and most of all, my players and students.
“I look forward to spending time with my family, but I will miss the daily contact with all of these people that I dearly treasure.
“Although I know this is a good decision for me, it is still hard to leave my school family.”
Bunker Hill Athletic Director James Byrd indicated a search for new varsity girls’ basketball and softball coaches will start immediately.
“Coach Joines has laid the groundwork for whomever takes the reins in both of the sports he coaches to find success,” Byrd said. “We will post these positions soon and begin the process of searching for the best candidates.
“Coach Joines has always been a profile in humility and respect — key values for those who teach young people about sportsmanship.
“Bunker Hill will seek to find individuals with such character and integrity to lead the Lady Bears.”