COVINGTON — The Alcovy boys basketball team had a season they would like to forget having won two games and a head coach that left after the winter break. Hopefully, newly appointed head coach Duane Kelley will be able to put all that behind them as they build a new future.
“We’re going to do our best to change that. We’re looking to make the state playoffs, at least I am,” Kelley said. “My job is to get them to believe it. I know I have to gain their trust. I’m going to tell them I’m going to be around.”
During his three-year tenure at Stockbridge, Kelley led the boys to a 50-34 record and made it to the state playoffs all three years including two trips to the Sweet-16 and one to the Elite-8. He also provided the 60-year school their first boys basketball region championship. He was also voted Southern Crescent Coach of the year and was Henry County Coach of the Year two times.
Prior to Stockbridge, Kelley was the head coach at Northeast in Macon where he rebuilt their program and appeared in two consecutive state playoffs and was region runner up in 2001. He also took over the program at Cook (Adele) in 1996 and posted a .500 season as well as a state playoff berth after the school had been winless in the two previous seasons.
Even though none of the schools coached by Kelley have been in the top classification, he feels that his philosophy will work at Alcovy because the game does not change.
“It’s basketball to me. There are five kids on a team getting up and down the court competing against one another. The A’s doesn’t matter, it’s getting our kids to believe in our system if we’re going to be successful,” he said.
The cornerstone to Kelley’s team has been their condition. He will get his first look at what he has to work with when they have their first practice on Monday at 9 a.m. in the gym.
“Nobody’s going to beat us because we’re tired. We’re going to get up and down the floor, press and run and trap and create scoring opportunities,” Kelley said.
“First thing I have to do is show these kids that we’re committed to playing defense. That’s what we’re going to work on. I like to play a fast pace. Anything that University of Louisville VCU does on defense, that’s what I like to do. I’d like the kids to buy into that philosophy but first I have to see what kind of shape their in and go from there.”