By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Dylan Eppley sees his new job as boys’ basketball coach at Southern Alamance as an ideal position.
“It just kind of all fell into place,” Eppley said. “I felt like this was a move that I needed professionally.”
Eppley takes the role with the Patriots after three seasons as girls’ basketball coach at Providence Grove High School in nearby Randolph County.
What has excited him is learning about the success of other teams at Southern. He wants boys’ basketball to be on that list.
“I think we definitely have the potential to do that,” Eppley said. “During the winter, we can give them a show.”
Southern’s boys went 6-19 last season, but they’ll move from the DAC-VII Conference on the Class 4-A level to the Central 3-A Conference. The Patriots were 18-44 in three seasons with Chris Miller as coach.
Under Providence Grove, which is also nicknamed the Patriots, Eppley’s team went 6-18 last season. That came as part of a three-year record of 26-37.
Eppley was also on the football coaching staff at Providence Grove. There, he was a colleague with Grant Handy, a Southern graduate. He said that connection helped him learn about Southern, which in his view holds a similar school culture to that of Randolph County’s Providence Grove.
“I’ve experienced what it’s like,” Eppley said. “I’d describe it as a bigger Providence Grove.”
Until taking the Providence Grove position, most of Eppley’s coaching took place in western North Carolina. He was a high school student at Watauga in Boone for three years before finishing at Avery County. He played two seasons at Caldwell Community College and then completed his college course work at Appalachian State.
He was the junior varsity boys’ coach and assistant varsity coach at Avery County for a season. He also spent three years on the girls’ staff at Watauga and followed those stops with one season on the middle school level in South Carolina.
Eppley is trying to gain a better understanding of the personnel on Southern’s team during offseason workouts. Early on in summer league play, he said it has been good to experience a taste of what the Patriots might look like in the winter.
“A great learning experience and reaching out to the guys that were able to come,” he said. “I’m excited that we have this opportunity. It’s exciting coming in and being able to build the chemistry with the guys.”