Sanders steps down after record run

Sanders steps down after record run
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SPECIAL REPORT TO BLOWING ROCK NEWS. By Garrett Price. March 12, 2019. BOONE, NC — Watauga High School Principal Dr. Chris Blanton announced March 12 that Rob Sanders is stepping down from his position as head coach of the men’s basketball team at the school.

All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News

Sanders has coached basketball at Watauga High School since 2004. He took over as head coach after serving as an assistant to former head coach Bobby Jones. Before coming to WHS, he taught and coached at Parkway School. 

Sanders ends his head coaching career at Watauga with a career record of 200-181. The Pioneers ended the 2018-19 season with an overall record of 13-13. 

Recently, Sanders became Watauga Basketball’s winningest coach, surpassing the long-held career wins record of former WHS basketball coach Carter Lentz who held the previous record with 199 wins.

Sanders praised the coaches with whom he has served over his tenure with WHS.

“I have been honored to be the varsity men’s basketball coach at Watauga High School for 15 years,” Sanders said. “I loved every player that I have coached over the years and treasure the relationships I have with them.
“I am equally grateful for the coaches I have been blessed to work with, both those I have assisted and those who have assisted me. I have poured my heart and soul into the men’s basketball program at Watauga High School. It has been my life’s work.”

Blanton thanked Sanders — who will continue in his role as a physical education teacher at WHS — for his work at the school.

“We very much appreciate everything Coach Sanders has done for Pioneer Basketball over the course of his career,” Blanton said. “His 15 years as a head coach, along with his record career, speak to his commitment to the program and love for this sport. You don’t win 200 games without a great deal of hard work. I appreciate the many sacrifices coach Sanders and his family have made to help all of the young men he has coached.”  

Blanton said he will begin the search for a new head coach immediately. 
“We will post this vacancy immediately and will work carefully to select the next leader of our program,” Blanton said. “Our school system is a great place to learn and work, and I expect to field a high quality list of candidates. We will be looking for a coach who will lead our athletes toward even greater success, both on the court and off, as they develop into successful young adults.”

About The Author

As Editor and Publisher of Blowing Rock News, David Rogers has chosen a second professional career instead of retirement. For more than 35 years, he served in the financial services industry, principally in institutional equity research. He grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California and was a high school English major and honors student. From an economically disadvantaged family background, he worked his way through college (on grounds crew and in dining hall, as well as advertising sales for college newspapers), attending Johnston College at the University of Redlands, Claremont McKenna College, and California State University, Bakersfield. Other jobs to pay for college included a Teamsters Union job in South Central Los Angeles, a roustabout in the central California oilfields, and moving sprinkler pipe and hoeing weeds in the cotton fields west of Bakersfield. Rogers' financial services industry career took him from Bakersfield to La Jolla and San Diego, then to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Newport Beach and Charlotte before arriving in the High Country in 2000 to take a volunteer position coaching the rugby team at Appalachian State University and write independent stock market research. He spent three years as a senior financial writer for a global financial PR firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, Tel Aviv, and Frankfort (Germany). Rogers is the author of "The 90% Solution: Higher Returns, Less Risk" (2006, John Wiley & Co., New York). He is married to wife Kim (Jenkins Realtors), and shares in the joy provided by her three grown children and five grandchildren.

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