Trying to get back to a winning track in boys basketball, Fred T. Foard is hoping new coach Rob Bliss will be the “straw that stirs the drink.”
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.
“We’ve taken a day one approach,” he said. “I haven’t watched a piece of game film from last year. I told my team I wouldn’t and haven’t. We don’t discuss what’s happened with the past for them or for me. It’s about what we have to do for our team, get better and everything’s a process and step.”
Still, a rich history of basketball at the school is what made Bliss leave West Henderson.
“One of the things that attracted me to this job is Foard’s past and it being a pretty good basketball school,” he said. “Recently, that hasn’t carried over. I think the community still wants to have a successful program. They are hungry for that.”
A duo of seniors anchor the Tigers, including Tre Robinson and Cody Winn.
“Cody is certainly a kid that gives us a tremendous amount of effort in everything that we try to do,” Bliss said. “As a senior, he sees the importance of urgency. For the seniors, it’s either now or never. He’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.”
A corps of young talent from last year stepping up also impresses Bliss.
“I think our juniors, coming off of the JV team, had a little bit of success,” he said. “They aren’t so removed from it that they feel left out. They have done a nice job of coming in and challenging for jobs.”
Winn said he’s taken notice as well.
“I’ve seen a lot from the juniors,” he said. “They are taking it seriously this year. I think they realize at the varsity level, it’s a whole different level than from JV. All of them have stepped it up.”
Robinson said buying in to their coach’s philosophy will pay off in the end for his team.
“I think he has it in our minds that if we come out here every day and work, the success will come,” Robinson said. “It’s all about our work ethic. We have to come out here, do what we have to do and improve.”