This past Thursday, Jake Dickey was on his way to a West Forsyth boys volleyball match, the club team he coaches, but not before handling a new load of responsibilities – organizing basketball two-on-ones, scheduling summer camps and practices.
It will be a busier world for Dickey next school year after he was named the Wolverines’ interim boys basketball head coach this past Monday. Dickey replaces Jim Cook, who resigned his position April 17 after three seasons to move with his family back to Florida.
Dickey is better known as West’s girls volleyball coach since he was hired in 2013 after eight years at Southeast Whitfield. He led the Lady Wolverines to a 39-10 record this past season that ended in the first round of the Class AAAAAA tournament.
But Dickey joined Cook’s staff as a varsity assistant this past season. Basketball was the sport he grew up playing in California; he played volleyball in high school for fun. Much of his career has been as a boys basketball assistant in stops at White County (2002-04), Apalachee (2004-05) and Southeast Whitfield (2005-13). Dickey took over as head coach at Southeast Whitfield the final three years and went 7-70.
West athletic director Brett Phipps said the timing was wrong to find a permanent replacement for Cook. Phipps said there are no teaching positions open at West to help facilitate a hire, and waiting for one to open might sacrifice the team’s offseason schedule, particularly in the months of June and July that are crucial for a team’s development.
“We think we’ll have some teaching openings moving forward between now and school starting, but I didn’t want to wait that long,” Phipps said. “We have the fortune of having a guy with his experience on staff, and so we just did our best to utilize our personnel to get our kids back to work.”
So Dickey inherits a program that made incremental steps forward under Cook, going from six wins to 10 to 11 this past season. A large senior class will have graduated, led by all-county and all-region forward Jimmy Staiti, but Dickey is undeterred.
“Guys are working hard right now,” Dickey said. “We started this weeks with two-on-ones. We’ve been weight-lifting. We’ll continue weight-lifting in the summer and continue with practice. It’ll be fun.”