Gray Collegiate hires new boys basketball, girls golf coaches ahead of transition to 4A

Posted 5/23/24

Gray Collegiate welcomed two new coaches last week, marking the beginning of a new era in its basketball and golf programs.

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Gray Collegiate hires new boys basketball, girls golf coaches ahead of transition to 4A


Gray Collegiate welcomed two new coaches last week, marking the beginning of a new era in its basketball and golf programs.

Wilson coach Carlos Powell is leaving his alma mater to take over one of the most successful boys basketball programs in the state. Gray won six 2A state titles in the past seven years, all under former head coach Dion Bethea.

“Gray’s a top program in the state,” Powell said. “They’re playing on a national scale … the competition they’re playing, the opportunity to present themselves. I’m just thankful for it.”

Powell spent the past four seasons at Wilson and led the team to the 2022 4A state title. He went 74-20 in his stint there and led the team to a 25-5 record last season before narrowly losing to the eventual champions, Ridge View.

“They embraced me, we won the championship there, we won the region every single year,” Powell said. “Those kids, they hold a special place in my heart. It was a tough situation, but we sat down and the kids, we always talk about different sacrifices in life that we’re going to have to make, and sacrifices on the court are no different. So the guys understand.”

Powell possesses years of playing experience at every level. After high school, he played college ball at USC and was named the MVP of the 2005 NIT. He finished his Gamecock career with over 1,500 points and 500 rebounds and is eighth on the all-time scoring list.

At Gray, Powell will reunite with his former Gamecock teammate and head coach of the War Eagles girls team, Brandon Wallace.

After college, Powell embarked on his professional basketball journey that saw him play in nine different countries across four continents. He said his travels showed him different perspectives of the game he had never seen before.

“Being a player, coach, understanding the guys, because I’ve been in their position for over half of my life,” Powell said. “Being able to adjust, different kids, different personalities. I’ve been in different countries. So, culture’s big. I’m a new coach, so it’s like a new culture for them. It’s going to be a shock, but it’s going to be good.”

Powell also has experience in the NBA as a member of the training camp rosters for the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors.

The War Eagles will begin competing in the 4A classification of the South Carolina High School League next season, which is two classifications above where they were last season. Powell, leaving a 4A school, is familiar with the competition in the class and is not worried about Gray’s chances.

“It is going to be pretty fun,” Powell said. “I have been hearing a lot about Gray moving from 2A to 4A. I’ve been here for a while. I’m comfortable, and I’m very, very comfortable in 4A. So there’s no pressure for me.”

Gray also announced the hiring of the program’s first girls golf coach who will lead the team through its inaugural season next school year.

Kathryn Cook, a guidance counselor at the school, is tasked with building the team from the ground up. Cook is an advocate for the sport and has been involved in the Midlands girls golf scene since her playing days.

“I am beyond excited. It’s a great opportunity and definitely a blessing,” Cook said.

Cook graduated from Brookland-Cayce High School as the first female athlete to ever receive a golf scholarship. She played college golf at Newberry before returning home to grow the game.

She has helped at many golf camps in the area and brought the sport to Pelion, similar to what she is being asked to do at Gray. The difference this time from the first time is Gray already has a few pieces in place.

“At Pelion, I started from scratch and this is going to be the kind of thing we do have a few players that are already here at Gray,” Cook said. “But just kind of growing that team, getting a foundation and kind of growing with that.”

Cook hopes to continue growing the game and teach valuable life lessons to girls through golf. The position at Gray allows her to do that and compete against some of the best programs in the state.

“Golf is a game that anybody can play. It does not discriminate age, size, gender, race, and it is a game that you can play forever,” Cook said.  “It’s a game that you can play beyond. And it’s not just the athletic skills and the game. It teaches you life lessons that you can use all throughout life.”

Gray Collegiate, Carlos Powell, Kathryn Cook


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