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Guthrie takes over Ashley hoops


Ashley boys basketball coach Webster Guthrie talks to those in attendance during his introductory press conference on Monday as athletic director Roy Turner listens. Guthrie, a 2003 Ashley graduate, has spent the last three years as an assistant at New Hanover. (Photo by Alex Riley)


It's been 11 years since Webster Guthrie left Ashley High School. A 2003 graduate, Guthrie stepped back into the locker room he once called home and noticed something immediately – it was exactly the same as he left it.

"That's got to change. We've got to have inspiration there. We've got to have our goals posted. We've got to know where we're going. If you don't write your goals down and don't know where you're going, you're just wishing," Guthrie said.

On Monday, he was introduced as the new boys basketball coach at Ashley, the first graduate of the school to return to his alma mater as a head coach in any sport. He is the third head coach of the program in the last three seasons.

Guthrie discussed his plan for putting the Screaming Eagles on stable footing: setting goals, taking responsibility and building pride for the school and the team.

"Now, this is my opportunity. I'm looking forward to building it. This is where I want to be. It's been done at other programs. It's exciting to me, the challenge, to try and do something that hasn't been done here," Guthrie said.

After six years in the Marine Corps, including a tour in Iraq, Guthrie returned home, serving as an assistant for coach Kirk Angel at New Hanover the last three seasons.

He doesn't have any head coaching experience, but that didn't seem to matter after time with Ashley athletic director Roy Turner and the interview committee.

"The thing we're looking for is to learn from every learning opportunity and don't make same mistakes. If you do that, you can keep moving forward," Turner said. He received 43 applicants; eight were interviewed over the phone and the final four were interviewed in person. Turner added that three of the candidates recently had 20-win seasons with their current teams.

"I think we needed somebody that wanted to come here and this is a destination job for them," he said. "They live in the community. They wanted to be here, wanted to be a part of this and leave a legacy per say."

It'll be some time before Guthrie can fully know his team, as rules prohibit how much offseason work a coach can do with his players. However, he and Turner have talked about holding a a student-run camp at the Brigade Boys and Girls Club in the coming weeks.

Getting involved in the community is just as important to Guthrie as the wins and losses. He's eager to establish a team on the court and a family off it.

"This is my program. I'm looking to stay here. I believe in what this program can become," he said. "We're never going to make excuses. We're going to work hard, we're going to own our performance and good things are going to happen."



Alex Riley: 343-2034

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