Emund Prichett was surrounded by more than 2,000 students his first day on the Shoemaker High School campus.
That was always a part of the dream.
Now, after serving four years as a Shoemaker assistant surrounded by those students, the dream is complete. Prichett was named the Grey Wolves head basketball coach last Friday.
The journey there, though, was fraught with difficult choices. The decision to leave a good job at the Killeen Parks and Recreation Department to become a teacher wasn’t easy.
“It was a very, very tough decision. Me and (KPR Director) Brett (Williams) got along really well. I think we did a lot of good things for the community. I loved my job, I liked working with him,” Prichett said, “but like I told him when I left, I was chasing a dream.”
“I wanted to make a more immediate impact, as far as in the kids’ lives,” he added. “And I think the first day on campus, just seeing 2,200 kids every single day really was fulfilling for me.”
After graduating from Ellison, Prichett played two years at Cisco Junior College before finishing the final two years of his college career at Division II Northeastern State (Okla.) University.
He earned a master’s degree in higher education and spent five years with KPR, serving the final three as athletic superintendent.
“He put a lot of blood and sweat into parks and recreation, but when he was there, it was never a doubt that his true passion was basketball,” said Williams. “He ran our girls basketball program, he launched our summer boys basketball program, he coached AAU teams during the summer and that’s always what his passion was.”
Prichett served as assistant basketball coach for Marc Minatrea the last four years. The Grey Wolves made the playoffs the last two seasons after a three-year hiatus and finished 26-9 in 2013.
Minatrea was reassigned by KISD earlier this year after serving seven years as the Grey Wolves head coach. He was 133-94, including 52-42 in district, at Shoemaker, and made the playoffs three times. The Grey Wolves won their first 5A playoff game in 2011-12.
“As an assistant coach, coach Prichett has already demonstrated his ability to be a head coach,” said Joseph Welch, KISD Executive Director of Student Services. “That experience has already been there for him. It may not have been there in title, but he’s already done it. During the interview, he did shine greatly versus all competition.”
He also had always been a part of the community.
Prichett, a 1997 graduate of Ellison who also spent two years at Killeen, is the fourth current head boys basketball coach within the Killeen Independent School District to have graduated from either Ellison or Killeen.
Prichett graduated from Ellison one year before Eagles head coach Alberto Jones in 1998. Reggie Huggins and Celneque Bobbitt both graduated from Killeen. Huggins, who just finished his first year as the Runnin’ Roos coach, graduated in 1995, five years after Bobbitt graduated in 1990.
“It makes the community a whole. It makes the community really whole because now ... we have people that are from this community that really care about basketball, that’s the biggest thing,” Bobbitt said.
Even though the district publicly opened the position, for which 48 candidates applied, Prichett’s “global” vision, one that integrates being a head basketball coach and a former parks and recreation superintendent, stood out, separating him from the other 13 applicants that were interviewed.
“(What) really separated him was he talked about establishing a program, not only at the varsity level, which he’d be the head coach of, but the JV, the freshmen, the middle schools and even going back down to work with the community at the parks and rec, the boys and girls club and other organizations, the AAU organizations, to help them develop our children,” Welch said. “He really talked about a global perspective of what it means to be a head coach, which is truly, I think, the way that all head coaches need to think, now.”