By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Tim Krotish began coaching girls’ basketball almost three decades ago, and soon after he started, realized he just didn’t want to stop.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the winning ways for his Eastern Alamance teams have been pretty much nonstop as well.
Krotish reached 500 wins with the Eagles earlier this month and hasn’t shown signs of slowing down.
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“I still love it,” he said.
This is his 29th season in charge of the Eagles. Of his first 28 teams, 25 have been in the state playoffs.
The latest milestone victory came in a 49-37 result at home against Orange, a neighboring rival.
Such sustained success didn’t appear likely for the Eagles. In three seasons prior to Krotish becoming the varsity coach, Eastern won a total of five games.
The 1994-95 season – the first under Krotish – produced a 9-15 record, though it was deemed such a breakthrough that he received a Coach of the Year honor. Since then, his teams have always finished with a better record than that first season.
“Even that year was a fun year,” he said. “They were happy and glad they had some discipline.”
In the first two games with Krotish as coach, the Eagles defeated Williams and Bartlett Yancey.
Who knew that was just the foundation for a count all the way to 500 and beyond?
“Longevity,” the 61-year-old Krotish said. “I just stuck around long enough to get them.
We’ve played consistently well. I’ve had good kids come through here. The ones that stick around generally buy in.”
The 2000-01 team was the Class 2-A state runner-up with a 23-9 record. There have been plenty of special seasons, averaging more than 17 wins each year.
Other marks of note were 27-4 in 2015-16, 24-5 in 2019-20 and 13-1 in the pandemic-reduced 2021 season.
Krotish, a history teacher, is in his 33rd year of teaching, the first three at Woodlawn Middle School and now in his 30th year at the high school. He was on the football coaching staff for 15 years.
He oversaw the first junior varsity girls’ team at Eastern and the next year was the varsity coach.
His scorekeeper is his wife, Laurinda, who has been along for the three decades.
“We’ve been married all that time,” she said. “He’s just driven. He has that tunnel vision about what he’s doing. Even this team, you can see he’s making progress with them.”
Since defeating Orange, the Eagles went 1-2 to hold a 10-8 overall record entering this week.
Krotish, a 1979 Eastern graduate, spent three years on the football coaching staff at Woodlawn and 12 more as a football assistant next door at Eastern. He gave that up to put more time into girls’ basketball.
Eastern athletics director and football coach John Kirby and Krotish were a year apart as students and athletes coming through Eastern. They’ve been coaches at the school for most of their adult lives, so Kirby has been around a good number of those victories.
“It’s pretty elite,” Kirby said. “He’s old-school. If he’s going to play somebody, he’s going to go watch them.”
That’s one of the features that stands out with Krotish. If the Eagles aren’t playing, he’s bound to be scouting a future opponent – or a potential playoff foe.
“That’s what I love doing,” he said. “The players deserve that from me. If I don’t give it my all, how can I expect them to do the same?”