by Aaron Garcia
On April 24, the Piedmont High School athletic department made quite a splash when it announced that former Kannapolis A.L. Brown football coach Ron Massey had been chosen as the Panthers’ new head coach.
Massey, 54, began coaching in 1980 after graduating from Guilford College. The Alamance County native retired from A.L. Brown in 2010 after an 11-year career in which he racked up a 120-32 record. Massey’s Wonder teams finished as Class 3AA runners-up in 2008 and claimed at least a share of the conference title in nine of his 11 years at the helm. Massey’s stops also included stints at King’s Mountain and Raleigh Enloe.
Massey said he was attracted to the Piedmont job after hearing good things about the school and its athletes, which he said have developed a reputation for working hard on the field.
“At this point in my career, you look for things like that – for kids that appreciate what you can do for them,” Massey said. “Hopefully, we can go in there, work real hard and be competitive.”
Massey replaces Frank Ambrose, who stepped down this spring after finishing the 2011 season with a 4-7 record. Ambrose and the Panthers went 10-2 in 2010.
Piedmont athletics director Bob Gearhart said he received more than 40 applications for the position, and the announcement of Massey’s hiring has invigorated the Panthers’ fan base.
“He’s got a great reputation,” said Gearhart. “He’s won everywhere he’s been, and I’ve been getting all sorts of phone calls and e-mails (since the announcement) saying what a great hire it is – and it is. We’re getting a really good coach coming in here, so we’re really happy about that.”
Massey said the first order of business will be evaluating the current coaching staff and the returning players to see if everyone is in the right spot to be successful.
“We’re getting a late start, so a lot of the things other schools have been doing, we’re probably not going to be able to catch up on,” Massey said, “but I think by the end of this summer we’ll probably have a good idea about what direction we want to head in.”