There’s no place like home for Josh Cunningham. The former William Byrd basketball standout will be on the end of the bench Friday when the Terriers open their season at home against Cave Spring.
“It’s good to be back,” said Cunningham, Byrd’s new head coach. “Just walking the halls and being around people I know, it’s been a really smooth transition.”
Cunningham replaces Kevin Tuck, who resigned after a successful season last year. Tuck is still a teacher at Byrd and the two are good friends, as Tuck was an assistant coach for Dave Culicerto when Cunningham played for Byrd.
“We talk a lot,” said Cunningham. “He’s been a big help.”
Josh graduated in 2007, then had a successful career playing college ball at Emory & Henry. He’s been a coach at Roanoke Catholic for the past six years, three as an assistant and the last three as the Celtics head coach.
Cunningham inherits a team that was 17-10 and made the Region 4A West tournament last season. That team had eight seniors and he also lost standout forward Alex Fitch, whose family moved to Northern Virginia.
Despite the losses, the Terriers have some experience as Tuck wasn’t afraid to go to the bench last year. Four seniors and a junior will start with seniors Jaylen Wheeler and Casey Smith in the backcourt. The starting post players will be seniors Terrell Smith and J.J. Seymore and junior Thomas Adams.
The first Terriers off the bench figure to be junior post player Danny Cruff and guard Taylor Young. Cullen Livingstone, a 6’3” senior, was a potential starter but he broke his hand and will start the season on the disabled list.
“Things have been going well,” said Cunningham. “The guys have been buying in to what we’re trying to do. I’m excited to start the season.”
Josh will be assisted by Patrick Wolfe, Byrd graduate Jordan Ronning and Andrew Benson. Tyler Goodman, another Byrd product, returns to coach the junior varsity team.
After Friday’s home opener the Byrdmen will play two road games next week, on Tuesday at Hidden Valley and on Friday, December 8, at Salem.