Hillside drawing up play for new coach

Jul. 01, 2014 @ 10:53 PM

Wins and losses don’t appear to be the reason why the Hillside High School boys' basketball team is without a head coach.

Hillside was 16-12 last season under Crasten Davis. He guided the Hornets to the second round of the state’s 4-A playoffs.

Now Davis doesn’t have a team, at least not at Hillside.

“He’s a good guy. He’s a good coach,” Durham Public Schools athletics director Larry McDonald said. “But there are some internal issues.”

McDonald said privacy laws are keeping him from going any deeper about Davis’ departure.

There is no timetable for replacing Davis, McDonald said.

“The search is on,” McDonald said. “We’ll do an extensive search.”

Attempts to reach Davis for this story were unsuccessful.

Davis coached Hillside to a 21-8 season in 2012-13 and an 18-7 season in 2011-12. In each of his three seasons at Hillside, the Hornets made it to at least the second round of the playoffs.

Hillside point guard Justice Kithcart ran the show for the Hornets this past season. He’s easily among the best at his position both in this area and statewide.

Now Kithcart’s future at Hillside is up in the air, according to his father, James.

“I think by Davis leaving, I think it’s gong to make him take a hard look as to whether he comes back to Hillside,” James Kithcart said. “I think it caught him by surprise.”

Davis coached Justice Kithcart at Shepard Middle School, so there was a nice relationship between those two, James Kithcart said.

“I hate for anybody to lose their job. (Davis) was a good guy, a hard-working guy,” James Kithcart said.

Justice Kithcart is a rising junior.

“The first thing he asked me was, ‘Who’s going to be the new coach?’ I told him I didn’t know,” James Kithcart said.

Former Hillside dual-sport athlete Trevion Thompson also played for Davis at Shepard. Thompson has reported to Clemson University to begin his run as a college wide receiver, but his mother, Tammy, remembers times when Davis had to make him run extra laps at basketball practice because he wasn’t doing right.

Tammy Thompson said she had no issues with Davis’ discipline, either.

“I’ve always known him — to me — to be fair,” Tammy Thompson said. “I hate to see him go.”

Tammy Thompson, a Hillside graduate, said she hopes the new coach will build on what Davis established and return the school to the days when the Hornets — they’re mostly known for stinging in football — had it going on in a major way in basketball.