ATHENS, Tenn. – Former Belfry High School basketball coach Randy Casey is getting an opportunity of a lifetime. Casey has just accepted the head coaching position at the new TNG Prep Academy in Athens, Tennessee.
Casey, who was a standout basketball player at the old Matewan High School in the early 1980s (he graduated in 1983), will help build the new basketball program which has been started by former Morehead State University Coach Donnie Tyndall.
The last three seasons he has been an assistant coach under Kelly Wells at the University of Pikeville.
“Obviously I love being at UPike,” Casey said. “It has been a great three years with Coach Wells. I had mixed emotions about leaving. But this is an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass by.”
Casey will also serve as the Athletic Director for the prep school.
Casey realizes what a prep school can do for an athlete. He attended Fork Union Academy, which is a prep school in Virginia, after graduating from Matewan. Then he went on to play college hoops at Emery and Henry. He finished his teaching degree at Morehead where he became good friends with both Wells and Tyndall.
Casey spent more than 20 years at Belfry as both an assistant and head basketball coach and he also served as head baseball coach for the Pirates for several years.
“As I reflect back on my coaching career here first at Belfry High School and most recently at the University of Pikeville, I have nothing but great memories to carry with me as I begin this new chapter of my basketball life,” Casey stated. “These past three years at UPIKE have been incredible and special – beyond belief.”
TNG was started by Tyndall, who most recently coached at the University of Tenneesee. The first season will be a post graduate team, according to Casey. “It will be similar to what Oak Hill and Hargraves Academy does.”
“Our goal is to have three or four teams in the next few years,” Casey added.
A prep school helps prepare student athletes for college, both academically and athletically.
“We will get kids that may have been under-recruited or may have been injured their senior year, or those who are a little younger and need an extra year before going to college,” Casey said of the new prep school. “We can help kids play on a higher level. We’ll get them ready for the ACT and get them in the right classes.”
“Coach Kelly Wells gave me the opportunity to coach college players that were super talented and a lot of fun to interact with on a daily basis. I learned and grew so much as a coach in those seemingly short years,” Casey added. “It also gave me the opportunity to reconnect with my great lifelong friend and to learn from one of the best.”
“While I am excited beyond belief for this new opportunity, I leave UPike with great memories and also a considerable amount of sadness. I will never forget the feelings of family and togetherness that I felt not only from our staff and players but also from the whole Pikeville community,” Casey said.
“I hope to take that togetherness and family approach and apply it at TNG Prep Academy,” he said.
“I can’t express enough gratitude to Coach Donnie Tyndall for having enough faith in me to get the job done the right way! I look forward to working with him to make this thing a national power as soon as we possibly can,” Casey concluded.
(Kyle Lovern is the Managing Editor for the Civitas Media Mountain District including the Williamson Daily News and Logan Banner. He can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2277 or on Twitter @KyleLovern.)