Assistant coach Justin Brittain will be interim head coach for the Blue Devils
By CHRIS HOBBS
MAIDEN – Danny Anderson’s pursuit of eventually reaching 800 career high school basketball wins will come back in Caldwell County.
Anderson — head boys’ varsity basketball coach at Maiden for the last four seasons and former head coach (two tenures) at West Caldwell — resigned Thursday and said he will hold the same position next season at South Caldwell.
South Caldwell Athletic Director Jeff Parham confirmed the move at mid-day on Thursday, and Anderson is scheduled to meet with the Spartans’ players at 2:30 p.m.
Anderson will replace Darren Hart at South Caldwell, who resigned but will continue as a teacher and head coach of the Spartans’ girls’ and boys’ varsity golf teams.
South Caldwell went 24-73 under Hart in four seasons, which includes a 1-23 overall record and a 1-13 record in the Northwestern 3A-4A last season. The Spartans’ only win was Jan. 22 at home (46-44) over Alexander Central.
Anderson guided Maiden to a 23-5 overall record, and the Blue Devils were 12-2 in the South Fork 2A to finish second to East Lincoln.
The 23 wins matched the most by Maiden’s boys since three of its teams — 1989-90 (23-8), 1996-97 (23-6) and 2004-2005 (23-6) each won 23 games. All three of those teams reached a West Regional with the 1989-90 team falling in the West 2A Regional final to Monroe.
A highlight of last season was Maiden’s 59-45 home victory over Lincolnton on Jan. 22 that gave Anderson his 700th career victory.
Maiden advanced to the state playoffs, beating Newton-Conover 51-37 at Maiden before falling 74-69 in overtime in the second round at Mountain Heritage.
Before Anderson arrived, Maiden had gone 34-218 over 11 seasons since its last West Regional appearance in 2004-05 under head coach Frank Snider. That includes a stretch of three years of going 1-66, starting with an 0-22 record in 2007-08.
Anderson worked with three assistant coaches last season at Maiden — Justin Brittain, Steven Hensley and Eddie Andrews — and Maiden Athletic Director Caine Houser said Thursday night that Brittain will serve as interim head coach.
Brittain has been at Maiden for four seasons, three as head boys’ junior varsity coach and last season on Anderson’s bench. He will be Maiden’s eighth head coach since the mid-1970s, and two of those coaches held the job in two different tenures.
As he heads to South Caldwell, Anderson will carry a career record of 708-256 in 39 seasons as a head coach at Madison-Mayodan (37-32, three years, Starmount (114-58, seven years), West Caldwell (488-129, 26 years) and Maiden (69-37 record).
Anderson lives in Granite Falls, about a six-minute drive from South Caldwell, and all of his family lives in Caldwell County. That was a key factor in making another move, Anderson said.
He likes the idea that his sons, Dan and Matt, can stop by practice if they’d like and said he will enjoy working in a community that he’s lived in for the last five years.
“The challenge at Maiden invigorated me and the South Caldwell challenge is the same,” Anderson, 61, said. “It’s just pretty much everything at the right time coming together.
“I love every day of life and want to coach hard and long as I can and keep doing it as long as I can.”
He came to Maiden after resigning following his second tenure at West Caldwell. He took a year off at West Caldwell, citing a need to reboot physically and mentally, and then came back to guide the Warriors.
When he accepted the job at Maiden, where he was also a part-time teacher (he will be in the same role at South Caldwell), Anderson said coaching the Blue Devils was a perfect fit for where he was in his coaching career.
“I think we were all just one family (at Maiden),” he said on Thursday. “I know it sounds cliché but (football head coach) Will Byrne and I are best friends.
“I can’t tell you one negative thing. At that time in my life it was an unbelievable experience and it will be a special memory forever.”
Anderson met with Maiden’s players on Thursday morning and said he had some tears in his eyes as he told players and co-workers he was leaving.
In many ways, Anderson said, the move was simply about a shorter driving distance that would open more time with his family and taking on a new challenge at South Caldwell, where the varsity boys have won three games in two years.
His teaching day at Maiden would generally end at 11:30 a.m. each day, so with practice at 4 p.m. he ate up some of that lull by watching film rather than drive back to Granite Falls and then back to Maiden.
“I loved every minute in Maiden,” Anderson said. “(But) we’re one family and really, really close.”
Every Sunday, his sons join him and his wife for the day and his brother, Andy (former West Caldwell head coach and an ex-South Caldwell principal) and his family also visit.
The change at South Caldwell, at this point, will give the Northwestern 3A-4A two new varsity boys’ head coaches next season – Rob Sanders isn’t returning at Watauga after 15 seasons there and the Pioneers named Laura Berry, their varsity girls’ head coach, to coach both varsity teams next season.