BREAKING NEWS: King leaves W. Iredell, will coach Bandys girls

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CATAWBA – Eric King already has a good feeling about what awaits him each day after a 25-minute drive from his home to Bandys High.

King — approved as a social studies teacher at Bandys by the Catawba County Board of Education on Monday night – will be head coach this season in the Trojans’ history-filled girls’ basketball program.

He is leaving as boys’ varsity head coach at West Iredell for the last eight years (36-142 record) to take over a Bandys girls’ program that is 1,067-352 since 1970-71. King also coached boys’ varsity at North Lincoln for four years (41-62) before going to West Iredell.

A look at the high school boys’ basketball teams coached by Eric King, who is leaving West Iredell to guide the Bandys girls:
Year         School          Conf.     Record
2010-11   N. Lincoln     6-8/5th         10-16*
2011-12   N. Lincoln    8-6/tie 3rd     15-11*
2012-13  N. Lincoln    3-11/7th         10-16*
2013-14  N. Lincoln    1-13/8th          6-19
2014-15  W. Iredell    4-10/6th         11-13*
2015-16  W. Iredell   3-11/tie 6th      8-17
2016-17   W. Iredell    1-13/8th         2-22
2017-18  W. Iredell    1-11/tie 6th     3-21
2018-19  W. Iredell   0-12/7th        3-22
2019-20  W. Iredell   3-11/6th       7-18
2020-2 1  W. Iredell   2-6/6th   2-6 COVID)
2021-22  W. Iredell     0-14/8th     0-23
TOTALS                  32-126       77-204
*state playoff team
Notes: N. Lincoln fell to Berry in the first round of the state playoffs, to Bunker Hill in the second round and to East Lincoln in the first round under King… West Iredell fell to Cuthbertson in the first round in 2014-15.
SOURCE: research and files.


He replaces Nicki Brittain, who resigned after five seasons with a 68-47 record and three state playoff teams.

West Iredell’s boys were 0-23 last season, losing all 14 games on their Western Foothills 3A schedule, and will enter the season having lost 26 straight games.

King — a Carroll County (Va.) native and graduate of Radford University — said he was not actively looking to leave West Iredell but applied at Bandys after a tip the job was opening. He talked to his family – the Kings live about 10 minutes from West Iredell – and then applied and prepared to interview.

“Once I interviewed, I knew I wanted the job,” said King, who added he’d been thinking about potentially moving from coaching boys to girls. “I’d always heard about community and school support at Bandys, and it (the interview) reinforced that…

“They did a really good job selling the program and what the girls mean in the program…

“The culture is incredible. It seems like they’re all on the same page athletically. It feels like a community there.”

Bandys went 14-11 last season for its fourth straight winning year, the Trojans’ longest since a six-year run (2009-2010 through 2013-2014), and they had a nine-year run (1980-81 through 1988-89).

The Trojans are tied with Freedom’s girls for most West Regional appearances at 20 (more than any basketball teams in the state, girls or boys), and Bandys is tied for most girls’ state titles (six in seven appearances) with Hayesville, now second to nine by Bishop McGuinness.

Bandys has reached the postseason in 14 of the last 16 seasons and in 22 of the last 25.

King will be the sixth girls’ basketball head coach in 11 years for the Trojans, and this is the 11th girls’ head coach since the late Bill Bost arrived in 1970 (Beth Laney Queen held the job twice).

King said his coaching staff will include Amber Vaughn and returnee Mark Lackey.

The Trojans graduated eight seniors.

“This group has a ton of potential,” said King, whose coaching career includes stints as an assistant with Matt Wilkinson at Bunker Hill, Shawn Johnson at Hickory and Duane Lewis at North Mecklenburg. “It’s still early. We’ve had a good number for workouts but not everybody at the same time. It is going to be a young team … it’s a young group that is pretty impressive.”

Responding to a question about how the Trojans might look different this season, King said they’ll play a pack line defense and push the tempo on offense,

He said the pack line is popular but not as often used in girls’ or women’s game as in men’s games.

“I really think it could be (successful),” King said “It’s a version of man-to-man but a little more based on help side (defense) than getting in passing lanes.”

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