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April 25, 2014

Evans steps down as Hickory boys basketball coach

- — The Geoff Evans era ended almost before it began.

After just one season at his alma mater as Hickory High boys’ basketball coach, Evans announced he has stepped down.

“It’s something I had to do for my family, just had to do it,” Evans said via telephoneThursday afternoon.

Professionally, Evans is involved in outdoor sales, and related, “the territory just will not allow the time for me to focus on coaching.”

Evans, 35, has been involved in coaching for 6 seasons, previously serving as an assistant at Kennedy Catholic for Rick Mancino and Sharon’s Jason Rankin.

This past season the Hornets had a 16-6 overall, 11-5 Region 5-AAA record. Hickory was humbled by Strong Vincent (50-40) in its opening-round District 10 tournament tilt.

“We had a little bit of success,” Evans reflected. “We got to the playoffs. I would’ve liked to get past that first round, but we met a good Strong Vincent team and we didn’t play well that night — I think we shot, like, eighteen percent that night — and had our lowest (scoring) output of the season.

“It was a tough ending, but we had some highs,” Evans continued. “The kids gave a lot of effort, and we had more highs than lows.”

Evans enjoyed a stellar scholastic career at Hickory under Hornets’ headmaster Bill Dzuricsko (3 PIAA Class AAA Final Four berths) and admitted, being at the Hornets’ helm this past season was meaningful.

“It was fun walking through that door. I remember that first home game, it was against Farrell,” Evans said. “It brought that competition back, that burning fire of wanting to win and getting the kids at a place where they were working hard.

“Getting back in the Hickory gym, it was fun to be back. It was a little different from when I was there,” Evans admitted, “but it was an enjoyable experiencc and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do it.”

Evans earned an undergraduate degree in marketing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then a masters degree in education, but was able to find full-time employment in a local school district and lamented, “If I didn’t have this different professional position, I definitely would’ve been back.”

Commenting on coaching, Evans continued, “I’m gonna miss it — the daily grind of preparing ... practice and planning ... gettin’ after it in practice, then the games.”

Evans’ young family — he and wife Mindy have daughter Daniella, 6, and son Danté, 4 — also factored into his decision. Two of his assistants from this season, Ryan Anderton and Tom Roskos, also have young families.

“I’m definitely gonna miss (coaching), but I also  enjoy time with my kids. ... Talking with my wife, if the kids want to do something, it’s gotta be all out and I want to be there for them every step of the way.

“If I was twenty-two, twenty-three years old, maybe being able to coach and sub(stitute teach), it’d be a different thing. But when you’ve got two kids a wife and a mortgage ...

“It’s taken me a long time to come to this decision, but I didn’t want to leave (his successor) stranded. I want to give him time to get in here, get a summer program, open gym, then a fall program.

“I’d be pushing it, trying to get back in time, to get to practice,” Evans said regarding the prospect of continuing to coach while working in his new endeavor. “But I want to get back (from work) and enjoy spending time with (his children).

“My son has taken a liking to basketball, and I’ve been teaching him the fundamentals of shooting,” Evans related, admitting the prospect of someday coaching his son may result in his return.

“You never know,” Evans acknowledged.

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