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Trying to get back to a winning track in boys basketball, Fred T. Foard is hoping new coach Rob Bliss will be the â€śstraw that stirs the drink.â€ť
Bliss, a former coach at Brevard, East Burke and West Henderson High Schools, comes to Foard with a 235-143 career coaching mark.
He guides a Foard hoops team that went 3-20 last year under former coach Mike Hainirhar, which includes an 0-12 Northwestern Conference record.
During the past two seasons, Foard is winless in 24 NWC games played.
Bliss said that becoming successful is about focusing on the future.
â€śWeâ€™ve taken a day one approach,â€ť he said. â€śI havenâ€™t watched a piece of game film from last year. I told my team I wouldnâ€™t and havenâ€™t. We donâ€™t discuss whatâ€™s happened with the past for them or for me. Itâ€™s about what we have to do for our team, get better and everythingâ€™s a process and step.â€ť
Still, a rich history of basketball at the school is what made Bliss leave West Henderson.
â€śOne of the things that attracted me to this job is Foardâ€™s past and it being a pretty good basketball school,â€ť he said. â€śRecently, that hasnâ€™t carried over. I think the community still wants to have a successful program. They are hungry for that.â€ť
A duo of seniors anchor the Tigers, including Tre Robinson and Cody Winn.
â€śCody is certainly a kid that gives us a tremendous amount of effort in everything that we try to do,â€ť Bliss said. â€śAs a senior, he sees the importance of urgency. For the seniors, itâ€™s either now or never. Heâ€™s been our vocal leader in practice. Tre has been banged up a little bit, but when he is out there, he can be dynamic at times.â€ť
A corps of young talent from last year stepping up also impresses Bliss.
â€śI think our juniors, coming off of the JV team, had a little bit of success,â€ť he said. â€śThey arenâ€™t so removed from it that they feel left out. They have done a nice job of coming in and challenging for jobs.â€ť
Winn said heâ€™s taken notice as well.
â€śIâ€™ve seen a lot from the juniors,â€ť he said. â€śThey are taking it seriously this year. I think they realize at the varsity level, itâ€™s a whole different level than from JV. All of them have stepped it up.â€ť
Robinson said buying in to their coachâ€™s philosophy will pay off in the end for his team.
â€śI think he has it in our minds that if we come out here every day and work, the success will come,â€ť Robinson said. â€śItâ€™s all about our work ethic. We have to come out here, do what we have to do and improve.â€ťView more articles in: