Mark Story was coaching the Bandys girls basketball team during a tournament last week at Freedom High School.
Little did he know at the time it would be his last act as Lady Trojans coach.
Story will not return this winter to coach the Bandys girls basketball team after being hired by Catawba County Schools to be its new Career and Technical Education (CTE) director.
He replaces the retiring Karen Cale as CCS’s new CTE.
Story confirmed his departure from the Trojans during a phone conversation on Thursday.
“I just won’t be able to have the time to (coach) because that is a regular 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. kind of job,” Story said. “I’ve agreed to help the team to the extent to that I can, but I won’t be able to coach them.”
Story spent the past six years teaching technology, networking and computer classes at Bandys High School.
During that time, Story coached the JV girls basketball program and helped former Lady Trojans head coach Beth Queen as an assistant on the varsity level.
He also coached the Bandys varsity boys basketball team during the 2011-12 season.
Story moved over to head coach of the Bandys girls basketball team following the end of the 2011-12 season after Queen stepped down from her post.
Story admitted his decision to leave the Lady Trojans program was difficult.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. The thing I hate the most is leaving the girls. I haven’t even had a chance to get them together and tell them because this all happened this week. It’s tough. I’ve always worked with those girls. I think a lot of them. They are a good group, not only on the basketball court, but in the classroom, as well. I still care about their success. That’s why I want to make sure they have someone coaching them that has the same views and not someone who is trying to come in and make a name for themselves. A lot of coaches I think are more about the coaching than the kids. I think that is important.”
This past season, the Lady Trojans finished 27-3 overall under Story and made the 2A playoffs.
Bandys has won 36 games in a row at Bost-Matheson Gymnasium, including a thrilling 58-55 victory March 1 against East Burke in the 2A West sectional final.
With the win against the Lady Cavaliers, the Lady Trojans advanced to Greensboro and the 2A West regionals for the fourth-straight year.
It was also the 18th regional appearance for the school, adding to a state record for any boys and girls basketball team.
Mary Story was expected to return to coach Madi, his senior daughter, this season.
Madi, the 2012 CVAC girls basketball player of the year and a three-time all-CVAC selection, verbally committed to play basketball at Appalachian State in January.
Mark Story’s oldest daughter, Jesse, also plays college basketball at Lenoir-Rhyne, where she is a redshirt freshman guard.
Jesse, the 2011 CVAC girls basketball player of the year, is coming off of recent back surgery.
Story said the plan is for Kyle Moretz to take his place as head coach.
Moretz coached the Bandys girls junior varsity basketball team this past winter.
“I haven’t had anyone tell me for sure without a doubt that he’ll (coach), but that’s who I would like to see do it,” Story said of Moretz. “He knows all of the players and he knows what we do. He’s worked with me in coaching out at Bandys since he got started. I think he would be good. He coached the jayvee girls last year and has helped me a good bit of time working together. I think he would be a good fit for that. He’s already at Bandys, too.”
Should Moretz be named coach, he will inherit a talented Bandys team.
The Lady Trojans will return all, but one player this winter in graduated senior post player Sierra Brotherton.
Moretz could not be reached for a comment on his potential hire.
Story is the fourth girls basketball coach in Catawba County to leave their post since the 2012-13 season ended.
Katie Chapman did not return to coach the Maiden girls basketball program after meeting with school officials.
Former Lenoir-Rhyne standout Amber Vaughn was hired May 22 to take over as Lady Blue Devils head coach.
Newton-Conover’s Ike Williams left the Lady Red Devils to take a position as an assistant coach for the Catawba Valley Community College women’s basketball program.
N-CHS hired former WNBA and N.C. State standout Andrea Stinson to take Williams’ place on May 29.
Last week, Brad Mangum left the Fred T. Foard girls basketball job to take the same post at Alexander Central High School in Taylorsville.
So far, no one has been hired to take the Lady Tigers coaching job.
As for his goals outside of coaching, Mark Story hopes his new position will help serve the community deeply.
“Coaching is something I’ve always done, but that’s not my solitary purpose in life that I set out to do,” he said. “I’ve got to look at the big picture long term. I’m a career technical education teacher. It’s something I like to do. Hopefully, we can get CVCC and Catawba County working together on a lot of things. It’s a good time right now because we have a lot of manufacturing and things coming back to Catawba County. We have an opportunity to build some programs possibly between Catawba County Schools, the manufacturers and businesses. That’ll be a challenge. I think it will be fun.”