By CHRIS HOBBS
MORGANTON – Casey Rogers is a month away from a new path toward impacting the community he grew up in.
Rogers — head boys’ varsity basketball coach at Freedom High and a former star player for his father at his alma mater — has resigned to that he can become principal at Freedom.
He has been an assistant principal and athletic director at Freedom while also coaching the boys’ varsity basketball team.
Rogers, 39, replaces Felicia Simmons, who is exiting Freedom to become the director of secondary education for the Burke County Public Schools (BCPS).
Those moves and other administrative changes throughout the school system were announced Friday in a press release by the BPS.
The appointments begin July 1.
Rogers played basketball for his dad, Terry, and helped lead the Patriots to a state 4A title as senior in 1997-98 with a victory over Pine Forest.
Casey Rogers then played college basketball at Western Carolina.
When Terry Rogers left Freedom after the 1997-98 season, his longtime assistant, Joe Davis, replaced him. Davis coached eight seasons, and Casey Rogers replaced Davis as head coach in 2006-07.
Over the next 13 seasons, the Patriots were 283-86 with five conference titles, 13 state playoff bids, five West Regional appearances and a state 3A title in 2013-14 by beating Wilson Hunt in the championship game.
Last season, Freedom won a Northwestern 3A-4A title by going 14-0 in league play and finished 28-3 overall, falling in the fourth round of the 3A state playoffs to Cox Mill (101-86).
Casey Rogers coached nine of his teams to 21 or more wins and his last three went 79-10.
In his new role as principal, he will hire the fourth varsity boys’ head basketball coach his alma mater has had since 1979.
The change at Freedom means three of the seven boys’ teams in the Northwestern 3A-4A will have new head coaches next season (the league is reduced by one school in August, as West Caldwell is moving to the Northwestern Foothills 2A).
Former West Caldwell head coach Danny Anderson has left Maiden to become the new leader at South Caldwell, and Laura Berry will be the new boys’ coach at Watauga and continue to also coach the Pioneers’ varsity girls.