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Tyndall named Kinston basketball coach, AD
July 2, 2012North Carolina
KINSTON - After considering more than 100 resumes and interviewing a half-dozen candidates, Kinston High School Principal Angela Bryant found her new head basketball coach and athletic director right in her backyard.
On Bryant’s recommendation, Perry Tyndall was formally named to both positions during Thursday night’s Lenoir County School board meeting. Tyndall, a Kinston native, is only the fifth head coach in the school’s proud 42-year history, joining Paul Jones, Craig Hill, George Stackhouse and Wells Gulledge in that span.
“If you want to coach basketball, Kinston is one of the top places to do it,” Tyndall said. “I’m really excited about this opportunity. I love Kinston, I love the community and I love the people.
“I’ve been very blessed to be able to have served in the capacities I have for the last 10 years and I’m really excited about the challenges ahead of me.”
Tyndall was the top assistant to his predecessor – Gulledge – on the basketball court and in the athletic department for the past several years. Since Gulledge’s sudden resignation from the program on May 29, Tyndall has been in the interim role in both positions.
His performance in those interim roles – and as the school’s Physical Education department chair – made Bryant’s decision easy, she said.
“We interviewed some really good candidates, but it when it came right down to it, Coach Tyndall has been there for a long time and has proven himself as the assistant AD and head assistant basketball coach,” Bryant said. “Honestly, he was Coach Gulledge’s right-hand man for a long time. I felt he was, without a doubt, the best man for the job.”
Gulledge said he feels Tyndall will carry on the Kinston tradition of winning, which includes three state titles – 3A in 2008 and 2A championships in 2010 and 2012.
“He’s going to fit right on in there,” Gulledge said on this week’s edition of “The Reece Gardner Hour,” which can be viewed at http://tacc9.com/reece_june_26_2012.htm. “I have the utmost faith and respect in him that he’s going to do a phenomenal job.”
Another coaching legend and North Carolina sports historian, Kinston native George Whitfield, applauded Tyndall’s hiring.
“It’s an outstanding hire and a wonderful hire,” said Whitfield, a member of more than a dozen sports halls of fame all over the nation, including the Kinston/Lenoir County Sports Hall of Fame. “It’s really a good thing that they promoted someone from within who is as enthusiastic and a positive influence as Perry is. I’ve been a big fan of him and his family for a long time.”
Josh Dawson, a three-year varsity star who also came off the bench to help lead the Vikings to the 2A title, said he knows things are going to be “a little different,” but that he’s appreciated Tyndall’s honesty and encouragement.
“He’s always going to be straight forward with you; he doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you the truth,” said Dawson, who is receiving recruiting interest from NCAA Division I schools all over the Southeast. “When you get down on yourself, he gets you back up.”
Denzel Keyes, the MVP of the state championship game in March, was happy with the hire.
“It means a lot to the team for (Tyndall) to get the job,” said the two-sport star. “He’s a good coach and he’ll do a great job. I’m not anticipating any drastic changes; Coach Tyndall focuses on defense and he’ll keep us as a well-oiled machine.”
The 32-year-old Tyndall graduated from Kinston High School in 1998 and UNC in 2002. He played basketball for the Vikings under Hill, making Tyndall the first former Kinston or Grainger High School varsity basketball player to coach the program since at least 1945-46 – a span that includes only the legendary names of Frank Mock, Bill Fay and Amos Sexton from GHS, along with Jones, Hill, Stackhouse and Gulledge.
“That’s a neat thing,” Tyndall said of the historical fact. “I was just a role player in high school, but I really enjoyed my time playing basketball for Kinston High School. To be able to come back, it’s pretty neat to be able to play and to coach here.”
Tyndall said he’s going to take the lessons learned from being Gulledge’s lead assistant and from playing under Hill to shape his philosophy. He also credits his brother, Webb Tyndall, who was a few years ahead of him at Kinston; Webb Tyndall played under Jones and alongside Kinston’s Jerry Stackhouse at both KHS and UNC.
“There is nothing wrong with the system that was developed by Coach Gulledge,” Tyndall said. “I have some different nuances I’m going to add, but ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with what’s been going on the past 10 years and there are not going to be major changes.
“And I have a unique resource with my brother. To be able to hear his stories and what it was like to play under Coach Dean Smith … my brother is awesome and someone I’m going to lean on.”
As always, expectations are going to be high for a Vikings program that will likely be the preseason favorite to win the NCHSAA 2A title in 2012-13 – especially with the return of Dawson and Keyes and other returning players such as Brandon Ingram, Darnell Dunn, Qwari Ham and Trayvon Jones.
Tyndall said he welcomes high expectations for this year’s squad.
“Those expectations are always going to be there,” he said. “We are always going to set our goals high; our kids don’t know anything different. All they know is to go out, play hard and set goals for conference championships, regional championships and ultimately, if we work hard enough and get some breaks, play for a state championship.”
Although this is Tyndall’s first varsity head coaching job, it’s not the first time he’s been a head coach of a team; he was the head junior varsity coach for one year at KHS and spent two seasons as the Rochelle Middle School head coach.
In those three seasons, Tyndall’s squads never lost a game, meaning he enters this season with a perfect record as a head coach. He laughed when asked what he thinks it’ll be like to suffer that inevitable first loss.
“Those teams I had as the JV coach and at Rochelle were pretty phenomenal; if I’d lost a game with them, I should’ve been fired,” Tyndall said. “I’ve been an assistant for a while now, though, so I know the sting of a loss. It’s going to happen, I know, but losing a game as an assistant or a head coach is no different for me. I’ll just try to learn from it.”
Bryan C. Hanks can be reached at 252-559-1074 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at BCHanks.