After seven years of building the volleyball program at Southeast Whitfield High School, Jake Dickey is moving on.
Dickey has resigned as coach of Southeast’s volleyball and boys basketball teams, saying he accepted a job as the West Forsyth High School volleyball coach.
He said Thursday night the Forsyth County Board of Education has not approved hiring him yet, but he already gave Southeast administration his resignation notice. Southeast athletic director Mark Lentych said Dickey resigned “around a month ago.”
“It’s been unofficial-official for a while,” Dickey said. “I thought it was time for a new challenge. ... (The West Forsyth volleyball program) has been around for six years. I think they’ve won two region championships and made it to the final eight (of the state tournament) a couple times. It’s just an opportunity that came up and was too good to pass up. My wife (Lisa Dickey) is from that area and we can be closer to (her family).”
In seven years coaching the Lady Raiders, Dickey has led the team to the second round of the state tournament four times, won the first area titles in program history in 2011 and 2012, won at least 25 matches each season and at least 30 matches in two seasons.
This past season, Southeast reached the Class 4A state semifinals, the deepest run in program history. The team is losing three seniors: including McKayla Burse; Hannah Graham, The Daily Citizen’s 2012 All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year; and Megan Collins, who earned the same honor as Graham in 2011.
“I hope the girls will continue to work and I know they will,” Dickey said. “It has been built up enough to where it can be successful, definitely for the next few years at least.
“When I came in, obviously we set goals, and the first was to have a winning season. After that, the goal was to win (an area) championship. We won two in a row. Then the goal was to make it past the second round.”
The boys basketball team has not enjoyed the same turnaround, with the Raiders winning just four games this past season and having a combined record of 7-70 in Dickey’s three years leading the program.
“The number of kids in the program went from 14 or 15 in the first year to the 20s in the second and then the 30s this past year,” Dickey said. “Basketball takes a little longer to turn around. You have to have some complete classes come through. I think they’ll be real successful next year.”
Southeast principal Karey Williams said assistant volleyball coach Bethany Kenemer is a strong candidate to take over that program. Kenemer joined the staff seven years ago when Dickey started.
As for basketball, Williams said the process to find Dickey’s replacement has started.
“(Dickey) helped make volleyball a very high-profile sport at Southeast,” Williams said. “I think filling both of those positions is very important.
“We’ve been working with a basketball program that is rebuilding and want to keep it going in the right direction.”
Williams and Lentych both said the timeline to fill the two positions is before the school year ends, due to summer workouts.
Last year Southeast’s girls basketball program had to fill a coaching vacancy. Elizabeth Crane resigned following the 2011-2012 season, during which the Lady Raiders went 1-25. Mike Durham took over the program and went 15-10 this past year, with the team coming a win shy of making the state tournament.