Polk County High alumnus Antoni Staley has been chosen to fill the vacant boys basketball coaching position at Polk County High School.
The Polk County Board of Education approved Monday at its regular monthly meeting the hiring of Staley as the seventh head coach in the program’s history. Staley will replace Josh McEntire, who resigned in March after leading the program for six seasons.
A 1998 graduate of Polk County, where he was an all-conference standout, Staley served this past season as head boys basketball coach at Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy in Mooresboro, where he led the Gryphons to a 10-15 record. Thomas Jefferson finished 5-14 the previous year.
Staley also served as the head girls basketball coach and boys junior varsity coach at Thomas Jefferson in 2014-15 and spent one season as an assistant coach under McEntire at Polk County.
“I am thankful for this opportunity, and I look forward to starting a new chapter of Polk County basketball,” Staley said.
“We are very excited to have Coach Staley on staff and are looking forward to watching our basketball program grow under his leadership,” said Polk County High principal Mary Feagan.
Staley spent five years in the U.S. Navy, where he served two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and worked with the Ceremonial Honor Guard in Washington, D.C. Staley played basketball with the Naval District Washington Basketball Team during his years of service.
Staley has remained actively involved with basketball since leaving Polk County, playing minor league basketball in several cities as well as with AND1 and also conducting training camps for young players.
“Coach Staley brings with him a tremendous knowledge of the game and, more importantly, a player-centered approach focused on core values, teamwork and discipline,” said Polk County athletic director Brandon Schweitzer. “We couldn’t be happier to have him on staff.”
A committee of six people, led by incoming superintendent Aaron Greene, conducted the search for a new coach. That committee interviewed six finalists before recommending Staley to the board.