The Mount Airy High School athletics department didn’t have to look very far for its next girls basketball coach.
Longtime assistant and junior varsity coach Angela Mayfield was named the next head coach of the Lady Bears on Monday, according to Mount Airy athletic director Donald Price. Mayfield’s connection to the Lady Bears program dates back to the late 1980s, when she was a player under Hall of Fame coach Eddie Cobb.
The 1989 Mount Airy graduate now gets her turn in the spotlight. When Mayo resigned and accepted a job at Galax (Virginia) High School on May 11, Mayfield’s feelings ranged from shocked to excited. She was sad to see her longtime mentor head in another direction, but also thrilled she had an opportunity to lead the program that she’s already invested so much into.
“Once I found out that there was going to be an opening, there was just something about graduating here and knowing the tradition that made me excited,” Mayfield said. “It’s a big deal, and I understand what that means. Maybe that adds a little pressure, but it’s something that I wanted, even if it’s not something I always aspired to be.”
Mayfield became an assistant to Mayo in 2009 and earned the junior varsity head coaching position the following year. She’s had tremendous success over the past five years, including an undefeated season in the 15-16 season that wrapped up this February.
Coach Mayo served 11 seasons as the Lady Bears’ head coach, and he can’t imagine a better hire for the Mount Airy girls basketball program. He lauded Mayfield’s high basketball IQ, while also recognizing her ability to build relationships with her players.
“She excels at connecting with the kids, and people know she loves all of her players,” Mayo said. “Her passion for basketball rubs off on her coaches and the players, so it’s easy to see why Mount Airy picked her.”
Mayfield credits Mayo with her development as a coach over the past five years. She thinks when she first arrived on the Mount Airy sidelines in 2009, she still had the player’s type emotion she developed as a basketball, softball and volleyball player in high school.
“I’m very appreciative of having his guidance these several years,” Mayfield said. “There’s a big difference between playing and coaching. I used to get so caught-up in the competition itself, but he’s helped me realize when to take a step back when everything is frantic.”
She inherits a team that went 21-8 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCHSAA playoffs. Ten players from that team are returning next year, including all-conference selections Jo Snow and Lexi France.
Mayfield doesn’t plan on changing much within the Mount Airy program. Assistant coaches Wade Hill, Abby Gallimore and Sara Mayes will remain with the team, and Gallimore will take on the role of JV head coach.
Like Mayo, Mayfield is a firm supporter of an up-tempo offense with a high-pressure defense. The Lady Bears will be flying all over the court with high intensity once again next season while competing against the likes of recent state champions Winston-Salem Prep and Bishop McGuinness.
She will get her first real taste of head coaching at the East Carolina University summer camp from June 24-26. The Lady Bears will have two teams competing, and Mayfield will have her first opportunity to connect with the girls as a head coach in a game setting.
“What I’m most excited about is just getting the chance to work with these girls even more,” Mayfield said. “They’re a great group who works hard and are really committed to this program and having success. It’s every coach’s dream.”
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16