The Transylvania Times -

Owenby Stepping Down After 20 Years On The Sidelines


Last updated 3/4/2020 at 4:02pm

On Monday, Brevard's Chad Owenby announced his decision to step down as head coach of the Lady Blue Devils' basketball team. Owenby served as a coach at Brevard for 20 years, with the last six being in the girls' head coaching position. In his final season, he led Brevard to an 18-7 record, a Mountain Six tournament title and a first-round playoff victory. (Times photo by Jeremiah Reed)

For the past 20 seasons, Chad Owenby has been a staple on the sidelines for Brevard High School basketball, serving as a coach in every capacity on both the jayvee and varsity level.

But on Monday, that era came to an end, as Owenby announced he would be stepping down as head coach of the Lady Blue Devils – a position he's held for the past six years.

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Owenby reflected on his tenure at Brevard and said while the decision wasn't easy, he knew it was the right one.

"It was time. You just know when it's time. When I took over the job, I said that I would do my very best to get the program back to where it should be and back to being competitive in the conference. Over these six years, I think we've done that," he said.

The biggest factor in his decision was the health of his late father, Charlie Owenby, who passed away in December at the age of 78.

With his father's health in decline, Owenby informed BHS athletic director Mick Galloway prior to the season that it would likely be his last.

"My father passed Dec. 12, but I told Mick that if he made it through basketball season that I would definitely need to spend more time with him and my mom (Carolyn Owenby). And then I promised my dad that if anything happened to him that I would step away and help my mom with what she needed," he said.

Galloway praised Owenby for his dedication to the basketball program over the past two decades, adding that while it's tough to see him leave, he understood the decision and was thankful for his service.

"We are truly going to miss coach Owenby," Galloway said. "His passion, leadership and loyalty in building a successful ladies basketball program at Brevard High School have led to a remarkable turnaround in our women's basketball program. He has been a tremendous asset, not just for our basketball team, but for our entire athletic program.

"I know this was a difficult decision for coach Owenby, but we here at Brevard High School support him 100 percent, and wish him the best of luck. He is definitely leaving this program in better shape than when he took over six years ago."

While he and his players enjoyed great success this past season, the loss of his father left an emotional hole for Owenby.

"My mom and dad always sat in the same seats and it got to the point where when we practiced, that I stayed away from that end of the court. From our bench, I would always look across the floor and see where they would always sit, and there was a little piece missing," he said.

While he informed administration that it was likely his last season, Owenby said he didn't tell his players, as he wanted them to play their best without any distractions.

Owenby started at Brevard in 1999, serving as an assistant jayvee boys' coach for one year. He then served as the head jayvee girls' coach for two seasons before serving as the interim varsity girls' coach for one year.

From there, he spent the next 10 years as head coach of the jayvee boys, racking up several conference titles along the way.

He was named the Lady Blue Devils' head coach for the 2014-15 season. It was a rough start, as Brevard went 2-21 in his first year.

But from there, the team increased its win total each season, culminating in his final year where Brevard went 18-7, finishing in second place in the Mountain Six, winning the conference tournament title and scoring a first-round home playoff victory over Surry Central.

Owenby said that development in the program wouldn't have been possible without hard work from the players – making a point to praise the senior class of 2020.

"I was very fortunate to have a group of hard-working kids that came in. They always wanted in the gym to get extra practice time. This group of seniors in particular was one of the hardest working I've seen in boys or girls athletics over my years. They deserve a lot of credit because they put in the work during the offseason when nobody was looking, and that's a testament to their character," he said.

Owenby added that after Brevard lost to Mountain Heritage in the second round of the playoffs that he told those seniors just how much of an impact they had on the program.

"I told the ladies that they have set a new standard at Brevard," he said. "Now, teams will be trying to live up to what they achieved. And that's a huge milestone and something they can hang their hat on."

While he's stepping away from basketball, Owenby will continue to serve as an assistant varsity softball coach alongside David McNeill – who has served as his assistant coach with the Lady Blue Devils.

Owenby thanked McNeill, as well as jayvee head coach Heidi Jordan, for sticking with him throughout the years.

He also thanked former Brevard coaches Travis Buchanan and Tim Trantham for their mentorship, as well as Galloway for being a consistent presence as athletic director.

"I've worked under many ADs and Mick has been one of the best ever. He's been stable and you're starting to see the success in all of our athletic programs, and I think that's a testament to Mick," he said.

In closing, Owenby said he will always have fond memories of his time coaching BHS basketball and feels the foundation is set for a new head coach to come in and continue the tradition of success.

"There's a good nucleus of kids that are coming back and there's a great group of jayvee kids coming up. Whoever comes in should be able to step in and do really well," Owenby said.


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