When Virginia High School League boys basketball teams officially begin practice on Dec. 14, Northwood and Tazewell will be among the programs in Southwest Virginia with new coaches at the helm.
Randy Vaughn has stepped down following four seasons leading the Northwood Panthers, while Omar Reed resigned after one season guiding the Tazewell Bulldogs.
Vaughn compiled a 59-43 record during his stint at the Smyth County school and Northwood reached the VHSL Region 1D tournament each of the past three seasons.
What led to his resignation?
“Just wanting to spend more time with my family,” Vaughn said. “I have a 4-year-old granddaughter and 18-month old grandson.”
Vaughn also isn’t a fan of the current protocols and regulations in place for offseason workouts amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The rules for practice are unrealistic,” Vaughn said. “It seems we are just being set up and waiting for a mistake to happen.”
Vaughn had spent eight seasons as an assistant coach at Northwood prior to taking over the program and his most memorable moment with the Panthers came during the 2019-20 season as his team went 18-8.
Northwood finished tied with Holston atop the final Hogoheegee District standings, but beat the Cavaliers in a one-game playoff.
“This has been a very special time for me and I always wanted to coach at that level,” Vaughn said. “The kids are what made it so special. I have been blessed with great kids and hard workers and we turned that hard work into a winning program. … I appreciated all the support from our town and the Saltville and Rich Valley communities. “
The Panthers also won the Hogoheegee District tournament for the first time since 1993 this winter, recorded a regional tournament triumph for the first time since 2008 and senior guard Luke Carter became the program’s all-time leading scorer.
The season ended with an 84-79 loss to Eastside in the semifinals of the Region 1D tournament.
“I appreciate all the parents trusting me with their children. It was something I never took lightly,” Vaughn said. “I am proud of the program that I built and it gave our little town something to be proud of and the kids something they never will forget. I know I won’t. It truly was a special time in my life.”
Reed won six games in his only season at Tazewell, which was significant when you consider the Bulldogs were winless the season before he arrived.
“Coach Reed will be sorely missed at Tazewell High School,” principal Jerry Smith said. “He had done a fine job of instilling character as well as basketball skills into our student-athletes. We wish Coach Reed and his family all the best on their new adventure in life.”
Reed is moving with his wife, Jelicia, and son, Julian, to Houston, Texas, where they had lived previously.
“As a family, we felt like we wanted to move back to Houston and seize some opportunities,” Reed said. “When I moved back to Tazewell, I knew I wasn’t going to live there the rest of my life. It was a stop along the way and after 2 ½ years, we’re just ready to build our family roots in Texas.”
Reed has an extensive roundball resume.
A star player at Tazewell High School and Bluefield College, Reed played professionally in Portgual, the United Kingdom and Japan. He also had stints with the Austin Toros and Maine Red Claws of the NBA’s Developmental League (now known as the G-League) and played for the summer league squad of the Boston Celtics in 2013.
He brought that experience to Tazewell as he tried to change the fortunes of the program. The middle school team went 12-3 last season under his watch and the varsity team vastly improved despite losing two starters to injury in the season’s early stages.
The Bulldogs suffered a 61-41 season-ending loss to Virginia High in the first round of the Southwest District tournament.
“Overall, for me, I had to try to teach the kids more mentally and discipline-wise than X’s and O’s,” Reed said. “They played with more discipline and respect and were a good group of young men.”
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