FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
PINETOPS – The SouthWest Edgecombe Cougars announced that they have hired Anthony Burns to take over the boy's varsity basketball program. Burns will be replacing Tom Wooten, who had coached the Cougars during the last several years.
Wooten had planned on coaching again this year for the Cougars, but the Edgecombe County Public Schools system didn't have a job for him after they eliminated his job at the end of the school year last year.
Burns is a Physical Education teacher at Carver Elementary in Pinetops.
Burns was an assistant under Wooten last year and also coached the JV program. Burns also coached at Martin Middle School in 2010.
"I am excited about being named the head coach," Burns said. "I am looking forward to getting things going this year."
He doesn't have any expectations of his players this year, because all he wants is for them to give him their best and work as hard as they can.
Burns said he isn't going to set expectations on wins and loses, because all he wants is for his players to give it their all on the court.
Burns takes over a program that will be returning experienced players like seniors Javin Hinton and Anthony Coley. He will also have players from his JV team from last year that know what Burns expects as a coach like Fabrion Bandy, Jason Jones and others.
Burns is bringing in a new offense this year after he picked it up from a couple of coaching clinics he went to during the summer. He said he has picked up some great things and especially the offense he is going to run.
"I think the new offense will work well because the players believe in me," Burns said. "Most of the guys I coached last year worked very hard for me and they knew I was trying my best as a coach."
He is looking for a point guard who will be able to run the new offense for him.
For the Cougars to be successful, Burns said his team will have to be fundamentally sound. He knows to win, his team will have to box out, play team defense and play as a team.
Burns knows that with him replacing Wooten, he has big shoes to fill. Burns learned from Wooten while he was an assistant under him last year.
Burns said it was fun working with and under Wooten. He said Wooten had a great sense of humor and always made him and the players laugh. His personality was good in how he related that within the program.
"Coach Wooten is a terrific coach," Burns said. "He was a great guy to work under not only as a coach but he was just a great friend and fellow co-worker. It is definitely big shoes to fill now that I have taken over behind him."
The Cougars are coming off what turned out to be a disappointing season last year after they were sitting in third place in the conference with four conference games left to play when they had nine players suspended from the program and went on a downward spiral after that.
Those players took the coaches keys and went back into the school and took candy and drinks from the concession stand. They didn't damage the school, but their actions forced the administration to take action which included dismissing them from the program for the remainder of the year.