HIGH SCHOOLS: Jensen named Draughn’s head coach in boys’ hoops, baseball

Published Friday, July 7th, 2017


The Wildcats have named a new head coach in varsity boys’ basketball and baseball — Yates Jensen — and Billy Abee is their new wrestling head coach.

VALDESE – Draughn High has promoted Yates Jensen, an assistant coach in boys’ basketball and baseball, to head coach in both sports for the coming school year.

The school announced the changes via social media on Thursday, also indicating Billy Abee will take over the varsity wrestling program and also be on the football coaching staff.

Dillon Sain is the new athletic director for the Wildcats. He replaces Jerry Murray Jr., who retired.

Statewide realignment has moved Draughn from the South Mountain Athletic 2A-3A to the Northwestern Foothills 2A with Bunker Hill, East Burke, Fred T. Foard, Hibriten, Patton and West Iredell for the next four years.

Jensen is a former multi-sport athlete at East Burke High who played there in the mid-1980s. He is replacing Brandon Siska as boys’ basketball head coach and Brett Huffman as the Wildcats’ baseball boss.

Siska resigned in late May, saying he would be moving to Wisconsin and wouldn’t return for a fourth season guiding Draughn’s boys. He was SMAC 2A-3A Coach of the Year last season.

Next season will be the 10th for Draughn’s boys, and they’ll have a chance to post back-to-back winning seasons for the second time in school history.

Last year, the Wildcats went 14-12 overall, falling 95-69 to North Surry in the first round of the state 2A playoffs. They went 30-70 in four years under Siska.

Jensen will be Draughn’s fourth varsity boys’ basketball head coach, as Chad Wright coached the Wildcats in their first three seasons and Steve Shuping coached them for two years.

The previous back-to-back winning seasons in boys’ basketball were 16-10 in 2010-11 under Wright — when East Rutherford knocked Draughn out of the state 2A playoffs in the first round — and 2011-12 under Shuping (14-12).

In baseball, Jensen will be working with a team that went 14-9 overall and 9-7 in the SMAC 2A-3A last season, tying Burns and Kings Mountain for fourth place.

Draughn won a state 2A postseason game, beating Parkwood 5-4, before being eliminated 1-0 in eight innings by Forbush.

Huffman’s two-year record at Draughn was 20-27.

Abee was a successful high school wrestler and has been coaching the sport at Walter Johnson Middle School. He will teach health and physical education at Draughn, the school said on its athletic website.


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