Welcome home, coach.
With his family standing outside Southern Wayne’s new gymnasium, Brian West was introduced as the new head varsity basketball coach. He replaces Dwight Smith, who stepped down upon the conclusion of this past season.
West grew up in Mount Olive and played basketball at Brogden Middle School and Mount Olive middle school. He went on play to play at Southern Wayne High School and helped lead the Saints to the Eastern Regional Championship in 2003.
“I am honored to be coaching where it all started for me. The Dudley/Mount Olive area is where I fell in love with basketball,” West said. “It is such an honor to now be able to give back to the community where it all started.”
After graduating from high school, West went on to play at Brunswick Community College, and the Dolphins were named Region 10 champions in 2005. West also played basketball at Elizabeth City State University, and the Vikings won the CIAA championship in 2007.
He ended his playing career in the semi-pro Tobacco Road League. West earned all-star recognition in 2017.
“I want to acknowledge and thank my older brother (Mario West) for all of the days he spent talking, teaching, and instilling his love for basketball into me,” West said. “He helped me grow so much as a man and athlete. May he rest in peace.”
West inherits a program that finished 0-13 this past winter and has not reached the playoffs since 2018. The Saints are losing five players to graduation but still have plenty of talent, and West is willing to build his team based on its skills.
“Our basketball program will focus on developing young men. It will begin and end with the student. I believe in using basketball to grow, develop and encourage the young men in my care,” West said. “I want them to be resilient men of character and, above all, student-athletes that can excel in the classroom and on the court.”
A meticulous planner with a deep passion for basketball, West expressed his expectations — to be a student-athlete first, show strong character in school and within the community, sportsmanship, and follow team rules.
“I want my student-athletes to hold themselves and their teammates accountable for their behavior, academics, and overall success of the program,” West said. “This is the only way that we can ensure that they are ready for the next level of basketball and life.”