Gray returns home to LHS as head basketball coach

By ROBBIE ROBERTSON,

Darrin Gray is a Lake High School Hornet finally headed home. Gray recently stepped down as the head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Newton High School, and will take the same position at his alma matter LHS.

“That’s where I graduated from,” Gray said. “The last time I worked there was 20 years ago. A lot of my folks are from Lake and it’s something that I wanted to do. I wanted to end my career there and the Lord blessed me with this opportunity. It’s going to be awkward playing Newton because I want the best for those kids at Newton. And I feel like in two years, they can contend for a state championship. It’s really a bittersweet thing for me.”

Gray has been very successful in his two coaching stops at Scott Central and Newton, even winning a Class 2A state championship with the Rebels. At Newton, the Tigers won multiple division championships but never played for a state championship. This past season, the Tigers were 24-8 and lost to Coahoma County in the third round of the Class 2A playoffs. Gray finishes his career at NHS with a record of 120-62.

Gray said he enjoyed his time at Newton and made some lasting friendships. “There are great people at NHS,” Gray said. “They have great kids there. I just wanted a change of scenery and to get closer to home. I won a lot of games at Newton and went to the coliseum three of the six years I was there. I’m getting close to retirement and just wanted to end it at Lake.”

At LHS, Gray inherits a team that was 5-15 under Maurice Bowie last year. Bowie, who coached both the girl’s and boy’s teams last season, will stay on as the girl’s basketball coach next season.

“Coach Bowie did a super job,” Gray said. “I was really impressed with what they did last year. They’ve had several coaches the last couple of years but Coach Bowie did a great job and taught them a lot of basketball. We have to work on a lot of little things. They are listening and will work hard. Once you get that, you can get them where they need to go. They haven’t had a winning record in a while and I’m looking forward to building that. I feel like we can build a strong basketball program. They just need some stability.”