Union Pines Hires Two New Coaches
A Few Moments with Coaches Johnson, Boney
For a question and answer session with coach Jeremiah Johnson, click here.
For a question and answer session with coach Nick Boney, click here.
Union Pines High School has filled two major head coaching positions within its athletic program.
Nick Boney is the new head boys’ basketball coach, while Jeremiah Johnson takes over the boys’ soccer program.
“We are very excited to have both these young men as the newest members of our Union Pines family,” said athletic director Bobby Purvis in a statement given to The Pilot on Friday. “We are also enthusiastically anticipating all the possibilities they bring to our athletic department, as well as our school as a whole.”
As the new head basketball coach, Boney steps into the position Purvis vacated upon becoming athletic director and is well aware of the act he will now follow.
“I understand I have big shoes to fill,” Boney said. “It is a little daunting taking over for someone who has been coaching for 30-plus years. I have observed Coach Purvis during games and hold a great deal of respect for him.
“However, I’m confident in my coaching ability and appreciative of the support from Coach Purvis and my new Union Pines family. I am very excited about this opportunity. It is a dream come true, and I am looking forward to basketball season. My hope is to build a program that the administrators, teachers, students, parents, and the entire Union Pines community will be proud of.”
Before accepting the job as the Vikes’ new hoops coach, Boney served as an assistant on Mike Apple’s coaching staff at Pinecrest for five years. While at Pinecrest, he also taught physical education, team sports, weight training, sports medicine, and was the school’s head athletic trainer.
He will fill many of these same roles at Union Pines, including teaching P.E. He is also a defensive secondary coach for the Viking football team.
Boney has a clear idea about both the qualifications that made him the right pick for Union Pines and what he wants to accomplish as a first-time head coach.
“Like Coach Purvis, I have a lot of passion for the game of basketball,” said Boney. “I love being in the gym, practicing and watching all the work pay off on game night.
“In my opinion, the qualities that make a coach successful include great communication skills, patience, integrity and dedication. I hope to teach my players that a good work ethic is also a part of building character and teams with great work ethics can be very successful.”
With a philosophy geared towards playing hard, smart and together, Boney is cognizant that as a coach, he will serve as an influential figure in his players’ lives.
“I want to teach the game of basketball to the young men of Union Pines High School while building character, integrity, and leadership skills they can use now and in the future,” he said. “I also want them to know that while we will work hard, that we will have fun, too.”
Principal Robin Lea extended Boney her utmost confidence.
“It is difficult to replace a legend like Bobby Purvis, but we are confident that Nick Boney will do an outstanding job leading our boys on and off the court,” she said. “We have admired Nick from afar, and it is to our great benefit that he has joined the Viking team.”
Meanwhile, Jeremiah Johnson steps in as the Viking boys’ head soccer coach with the new season staring straight back at him.
A 1995 graduate of Pinecrest High School, Johnson played three years of soccer for the Patriots.
He takes over the helm for Jeremy Blake. Blake, who is still the head girls’ coach, was the boys’ soccer coach for three years.
This year’s team has been preparing for the season all summer without a coach. That season starts Monday with a road match at Richmond.
“I feel that I can teach these kids some things about the game by passing my knowledge and experiences from both soccer as well as life on to them,” said Johnson. “I have worked with kids in some form since I was 14 and began coaching and refereeing soccer at the same age. Also, I was a camp counselor and a part of the Big Brothers program, so I can relate with the kids in some form and make the experience fun.”
According to Johnson, he has never been happier since receiving the official word late Thursday that the head coaching position was his.
“My friends and family have seen a great change in me since I became the head coach,” he said. “They see the light that once glowed years ago when I was playing more.”
Johnson will be a substitute in Union Pines’ Exceptional Education Department and is currently covering for one of the school’s staff members until the end of October.
Lea believes Johnson will continue to cultivate a boys’ soccer program that has recently become steeped in some tradition.
“Jeremiah brings a diverse background of experience to our soccer program,” said Lea. “We are excited about this new opportunity to build on our past success.”
While Johnson has only had a limited time with this year’s team, so far he is encouraged by what he has seen.
“After coaching the boys at the end of this week, I see great potential in them and their season ahead,” said Johnson. “They show that they have heart and that they have the drive for a winning season”
In fact, Johnson has high hopes for his team this year, due in large part to the players’ own expectations.
“The guys told me they think competing for a Cape Fear Valley Conference title is their goal and that it is doable,” he said. “As their coach, I told the guys I am with them, and that if they give me 100 percent, I will give them 100 percent-plus and do all I can to make their goal a possibility.”
Contact F.W. Manning II at (910) 639-5481 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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