Photo: West End boys basketball coach Richard Hollingsworth instructs his players during the Patriots’ game against Ashville on Nov. 22. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Richard Hollingsworth has brought his brand of winning basketball to Altoona and Walnut Grove.
The long-time Westbrook Christian and Coosa Christian coach accepted the West End High School boys basketball position this past August and gradually is implementing his program.
One of the first things that Hollingsworth told the WEHS players, parents and administration was that he was in for the long haul.
“I made sure that I wanted to dedicate myself for not just this season but for however long I thought it would take to get it done,” he said.
Hollingsworth, who sports a career record of 285-153, noted that the Patriots’ foundation would be based upon work ethic and establishing an identity.
“We’re putting a lot of emphasis on protecting our home floor, because it’s easier to learn how to win at home than on the road. If that happens, then the next thing can happen, and when that second thing happens, the third thing can happen. It’s a process, and we can’t skip any steps.
“As far as putting in my system, I have to remind myself that I don’t know [the players] very well as of yet, and they don’t know me. We just want to get hea-ded in the right direction and make sure that we stay in that direction. Wining is a learned habit, and with me, these kids need to learn how to win.”
Hollingsworth noted that the varsity program already has a decent feeder system in place.
“The JV bunch has some good athletes and we’ve got some young talent on the junior high, as well. We just have to get these kids in a position to be successful. It takes a while, but when you get the kids believing in your system, good things will happen. I’m sure we’ll hit some bumps, so we’ll see how resilient we are when we do hit those bumps. Our character will show at that point.”
As a junior last season, guard Jeremiah Roberson averaged15.8 points and 4.5 rebounds for the Patriots.
Hollingsworth was the Westbrook boys coach from 1996 though 2008. The Warriors twice qualified for the Northeast Regional Tournament in during Hollingsworth’s time in Rainbow City. After stepping away for a few years, Hollingsworth became head boys coach at Coosa Christian for the 2012-13 season. He guided the 2016-17 Conquerors to the program’s first-ever regional tournament berth.
“Me and the [West End] administration are on the same page, and [WEHS Principal] Butch Dixon has been beautiful to work with. He has the same desires that I have for the pro-gram, and that’s always important. So, I think we’ll be here for a while.”