Shoemaker campus athletic coordinator Channon Hall handed the microphone to the new Grey Wolves head boys basketball coach to give a small speech about two-year letterman Paris Yerry before the graduating senior signed his letter of intent to play college basketball.
When the applause inside the Shoemaker gym subsided, Emund Prichett spoke of how Yerry played on the seventh-grade B team in middle school and how hard work drove the first-team All-District 8-5A guard to his opportunity to play at Dawson Community College in Montana.
Only someone like Prichett could know Yerry’s past and his potential in the future. That’s why Prichett was selected to be the Grey Wolves new head boys basketball coach.
“The thing about this job is it wasn’t broke,” Hall said. “The kids work hard, been pretty successful and, bottom-line, coach Pritchett was a big part of that.
“You just talk about a guy who wants to be at Shoemaker High School, who has a great interest in Shoemaker kids being successful. That’s what he had,” he added. “He wants Shoemaker High School kids, along with the basketball team, to be successful and he’s here for the long haul.”
Forty-eight applicants applied for the opening, 14 of which were interviewed starting two weeks ago. Prichett was offered the job last Friday, though KISD never released a public statement regarding the hire.
Prichett served as assistant basketball coach for Marc Minatrea for 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.
“That’s the great thing. I think we’ve done some great things in the last couple of years. I think continuity keeps the ball rolling,” Prichett said.
Prichett went to school at Killeen for two years and transferred to Ellison, from where he graduated in 1997. His hire now gives the Killeen Independent School District four former players who are now serving as head boys basketball coaches at the district’s four high schools.
Reggie Huggins and Celeneque 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. Alberto Jones is also coaching at his alma mater, Ellison, from which he graduated in 1998.
When Prichett graduated, he knew he wanted to come back and be a head coach.
By way of Cisco Junior College, Northeastern State University (Okla.), Tarleton State University and the Killeen Parks and Recreation Department, Prichett got where he wanted to end up.
“When I graduated college, I always wanted to come back here (to Killeen) and be a head basketball coach, here,” Prichett said. “Just because I wanted to tell some of the kids what I didn’t get told and give them some experiences that I had so that way they don’t have to walk the same path. They can go in the same direction, but they don’t have to go through some of the obstacles I went through.”
Prichett played basketball at Cisco for two years after high school and played his final two years at NSU.
He earned a master’s degree in higher education and spent five years with KPR, serving the final three as athletic superintendent.
He was hired at Shoemaker in 2009 and served as Minatrea’s assistant.
“I think the way our program has been — I’ve been his assistant, I’ve been his right-hand man — and the kids looked at the both of us like we were the coach of the program,” Prichett said. “So, it wasn’t really a change over with the kids, they were just ready to go, ready to go play Shoemaker basketball.”