by Andrew Stark
After a successful winter on the hardwood, Covenant Day now is looking to replace its top two basketball coaches.
Lions boys coach John Whitley and girls coach Kory Bridges recently resigned from their posts.
Whitley recently wrapped up his fourth season, during which the Lions earned their first trip to the N.C. Independent Schools 3A playoffs. Convenant Day had a 31-73 record under Whitley, who’s also the executive vice president of the United States Basketball Association. Whitley said that when he was making out the summer schedule, he started to realize how often he would be away from his team, and he thought the Lions coach should be there during the off-season.
“I started to notice I would be gone for five weeks during the off-season, and that is the time when players should be getting better,” Whitley said. “I didn’t think it was fair to the kids for me to first start coaching them on Nov. 1, when the season starts.
“I have grown to love those kids, and it was a very hard decision for me. It was tough to meet with the kids and tell them, but I thought long and hard about it and feel it is the right decision and best for everyone.”
Whitley said he wouldn’t rule out the chance of one day returning to the sidelines.
Bridges led the Lions to a 15-15 record this season and a spot in Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly’s Super 7 ranking for much of the year. In three seasons at the helm, Bridges’ Lions had a 41-39 record.
Bridges, who has a 16-month-old child, said he was stepping down for family reasons but also would like to coach again.
“Coaching basketball is a huge commitment, and I felt like I need to spend more time with my family,” Bridges said. “I am certainly looking to get back into coaching in the future, and right now I am weighing all of my options and trying to find what’s the best fit for me.”
Lions athletics director Mark Jones said the school is close to filling both positions.