West Charlotte boys’ basketball coach Baronton Terry is moving to Olympic High School.
Terry, 50, coached at West Charlotte since the start of the 2008 season. He led the Lions to five N.C. 4A Western Regional appearances and made two state finals. West Charlotte won the 2011 state championship, beating Raleigh Millbrook 78-69. Led by future McDonalds All-American and UNC basketball star Kennedy Meeks, that 2011 Lions team won the school’s seventh state title and beat postseason opponents by a combined margin of 129 points.
Terry said it would be hard to leave West Charlotte, but he made the decision for personal reasons. His oldest daughter, Moriah, plays varsity basketball and softball at Olympic. She’s in ninth grade. He has two younger daughters – 13-year-old Aliyah and 9-year-old Barri – who will be at Olympic soon. He wanted to spend more time with them. Olympic is also a short drive from his house. West Charlotte is across town.
“I never get to see my daughter play,” Terry said. “They play at the same time we do. It’s very hard to walk away from West Charlotte. But then again, it’s not hard when you’re making a family decision. There’s people you disappoint, parents, a couple of the kids, but those parents get to see their kid play. I don’t. And I don’t know if this opportunity would ever come again.”
West Charlotte was 15-11 last season and lost in the third round of the N.C. 4A playoffs to eventual state champion Charlotte Catholic. Terry feels he’s leaving the Lions program better than when he came, just as he did at previous stops at Miami’s Northwestern High and Miami private school Chaminade Madonna. Terry led Northwestern to four state championship appearances in five years.
At Olympic, he’ll face a similar rebuilding task. Ty Baumgarder led the Trojans to a 30-0 record in the 2012-13 season and build one of the state’s strongest programs. But Baumgardner left after the 2013-14 season to coach in Georgia. In 2015-16, Olympic dipped to 9-17 and had several key starters transfer to other high schools before the season began.
Olympic athletics director Ken Konstanty, who said the school had more than 50 candidates for the job, thinks Terry is the guy to keep the talent home and to get the program winning again.
“We’re extremely excited,” Konstanty said. “We think that coach Terry can bring back (a family atmosphere here). I think that’s something we like to instill in our student-athletes and it helps them to work and play together as one. We call each other family here and that’s what we need.”
Terry will begin his 30th season coaching in November and plans to be at Olympic at least until his youngest daughter graduates. He also plans to win. Immediately.
“Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve rebuilt the program,” Terry said. “I don’t know how good they are or what they’ve got, but we’re going to win.”
Wertz: 704-358-5133; Twitter: @langstonwertzjr