Sanders

Watauga boys’ basketball coach Rob Sanders instructs his team in the huddle during a February home game.

BOONE — Watauga High School Principal Chris Blanton announced March 12 that Rob Sanders, the winningest coach in boys’ basketball program history, is stepping down from his position after 15 years.

Sanders has been the head boys basketball coach at Watauga High School since 2004, taking over as head coach after serving as an assistant to former head coach Bobby Jones. Before coming to WHS, Sanders taught and coached at Parkway School.

Sanders ends his head coaching career at Watauga with a career record of 200-181. The Pioneers ended the 2018-19 season with an overall record of 13-13.

“I have been honored to be the varsity men’s basketball coach at Watauga High School for 15 years,” Sanders said in a statement. “I loved every player that I have coached over the years and treasure the relationships I have with them.”

Recently, Sanders became Watauga basketball’s winningest coach, surpassing the long-held career wins record of former WHS basketball coach Carter Lentz who held the previous record with 198 wins.

“I am equally grateful for the coaches I have been blessed to work with, both those I have assisted and those who have assisted me. I have poured my heart and soul into the men’s basketball program at Watauga High School. It has been my life’s work,” Sanders said.

Blanton said that Sanders will continue in his role as a physical education teacher at WHS.

“We very much appreciate everything Coach Sanders has done for Pioneer basketball over the course of his career,” Blanton said. “His 15 years as a head coach, along with his record career, speak to his commitment to the program and love for this sport. You don’t win 200 games without a great deal of hard work. I appreciate the many sacrifices Coach Sanders and his family have made to help all of the young men he has coached.”

Blanton said he will begin the search for a new head coach immediately.

“We will post this vacancy immediately and will work carefully to select the next leader of our program,” Blanton said. “Our school system is a great place to learn and work, and I expect to field a high quality list of candidates. We will be looking for a coach who will lead our athletes toward even greater success, both on the court and off, as they develop into successful young adults.”

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