Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Basketball coach Walt Aikens named interim football coach at Harding

Harding boys basketball coach Walter Aikens will also coach the Rams' football team this fall, he told the Observer Wednesday.

Aikens, 48, was named interim coach this week, replacing former Carolina Panther Deveron Harper. Harper said he was forced to step down while he finished requirements for his N.C. certified teacher's license. He hopes to complete his requirements this fall. In the meantime, Harper said he would continue as an assistant coach with the Rams, who won one game in 2012.

Harper, who played two seasons with the NFL Panthers from 2000-01, was head coach at Harding for the past two seasons.

Aikens has been a Rams' assistant coach for five years, working primarily with defensive backs. With Harding having to make a coaching move just a few weeks before the start of the season, Rams athletics director Michael McRae said Aikens was an easy choice.

"Aikens can do a good job," McRae said. "He's got a great rapport with students and families and he's well-respected."

McRae said he wasn't concerned about Aikens' responsibilities coaching football and basketball at Harding at the same time.

"If anybody can do it," McRae said, "it's coach Aikens."

Aikens was one of six finalists for the college basketball job at Queens this summer. He is one of the best players in Queens' school history. But Aikens said he grew up loving football and only choose Queens basketball for college because he didn't get a full football scholarship offer from the school he wanted to attend.

This winter, he'll start his 11th season as Harding basketball coach, and he's rebuilt the Rams into a regional power. Last season, Harding played in its first N.C. Western Regional.

With football, Aikens aims for similar success.

"My thing right now is to not really worry about what the record is going to be and get them competitive day-in and day-out," he said. "If we can manage to get several wins out of that, that will be great. It's about needing to be competitive again like it was in the past. We've got to make a commitment and be dedicated and bring back the tradition to Harding."

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mallard Creek sits atop two preseason high school football polls

Mallard Creek's Mavericks start the season at No. 1 in a pair of N.C. statewide preseason high school football polls.

Coach Mike Palmeieri's team is the top ranked 4A team from Carolina Preps and N.C. Preps.

Complete rankings are below



1. Tarboro

2. Warsaw Kenan

3. Swain County

4. Murphy

5. Wallace-Rose Hill

6. Mt. Airy

7. Albemarle

8. West Montgomery

9. Plymouth

10. Boonville Starmount

On the bubble: Manteo, Robbinsville, Northampton County, Louisburg


1. Southwest Onslow

2. East Lincoln

3. Shelby

4. Reidsville

5. Jacksonville Northside

6. High Point Andrews

7. Carrboro

8. North Rowan

9. Elizabeth City Northeastern

10. Goldsboro

On the bubble: South Columbus, Thomasville, Kinston, Newton-Conover, Red Springs, Ayden-Grifton


1. Havelock

2. Belmont South Point

3. Northern Guilford

4. Boiling Springs Crest

5. Lawndale Burns

6. Fayetteville Byrd

7. West Rowan

8. Asheville Reynolds

9. Monroe Sun Valley

10. Southern Durham

On the bubble: Morganton Freedom, Cleveland, Statesville, Southern Guilford, Eastern Alamance, Asheville Erwin, Asheville, Hillsborough Orange


1. Charlotte Mallard Creek

2. Scotland County

3. Charlotte Independence

4. Matthews Butler

5. Garner

6. Richmond County

7. New Bern

8. Cornelius Hough

9. Charlotte Catholic

10. Wilmington New Hanover

On the bubble: Apex Middle Creek, Fayetteville Britt, Mint Hill Rocky River, Durham Hillside, Greensboro Page, Greensboro Dudley, Hoke County, Raleigh Leesville Rd., North Davidson, High Point Central, Winston-Salem Mt. Tabor

1. Mallard Creek
2. Butler
3. New Bern
4. Scotland Co.
5. Richmond Sr.
6. Britt
7. Garner
8. Porter Ridge
9. Independence
10. Catholic
1. Havelock
2. No. Guilford
3. South Point
4. Crest
5. West Rowan
6. Byrd
7. Statesville
8. Burns
9. Erwin
10. AC Reynolds
1.  East Lincoln
2. SW Onslow
3. Shelby
4. Reidsville
5. Carrboro
6. Northside-Jacksonville
7. Northeastern
8. HP Andrews
9. Kinston
10. Thomasville
1. Tarboro
2. Murphy
3. Albemarle
4. James Kenan
5. Wallace Rose-Hill
6. Starmount
7. Plymouth
8. Swain Co.
9. Mt Airy
10. West Montgomery

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ardrey Kell names new volleyball coach

Nic Allen will take over as head volleyball coach at Ardrey Kell High this fall, the school announced Tuesday.

Allen will replace Zoe Bell, who is the new head volleyball coach at Charlotte Latin.

Allen played high school volleyball at Placer High School in California and played three years of club volleyball at Washington State University, according to the release.

He served as a volunteer assistant coach at Washington State, coached at Sierra College and was the head volleyball coach at Clover High last year.

"We feel Coach Allen has the experience and knowledge to continue our volleyball success at Ardrey Kell, and has outstanding character that we seek for our AK coaching staff, and has developed a great reputation for his coaching young student-athletes," athletic director Cheryl Feeney said in the release.

Bell led the Knights to the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state championship last year.

-Corey Inscoe