Lexington High School boys’ basketball gets new coach

New Lexington boys’ basketball coach Elliott Pope (left) with former head coach Bailey Harris (right). Thomas Grant Jr. photo.

A new era of Lexington High School boys’ basketball was ushered in Thursday.

The program’s reins were officially turned over to Elliott Pope during a morning press conference at the school. He succeeds longtime head coach Bailey Harris, who stepped down after 32 seasons, two state titles and 637 career victories.

“It’s a really humbling experience,” he said. “You’ve got a coach like Coach Harris who’s been here for such a long time and established a winning tradition and I feel just really fortunate to to be able to lead the next chapter of Lexington basketball.”

A native of Huntersville, N.C., Pope and graduate of Charlotte University, Pope arrives from West Davidson High School in Tyro, N.C. He coached the Dragons for two seasons, posting a 19-29 record and being named Central Carolina Conference Coach of the Year this past season after a five-win improvement.

Pope previously served as athletics director and men’s basketball coach at Mountain Island Lake Academy in Charlotte and as a junior varsity coach at Concord High School. In moving to the Palmetto State, Pope said his wife is a Spring Valley native and wanted to coach in an area closer to her residence.

He takes over a Wildcats’ program coming off a 29-1 season in which they set a school record with 29 straight wins, finished undefeated during the regular season for the first time, claimed the Region 5-5A title and finished Class 5A Lower State runner-up. Lexington also graduates nine seniors, including All-State and Region 5-5A Player of the Year Mason Carver.

Having previously coached at programs which were either new or had no previous success this century has prepared Pope for developing new talent.

“We’ll be aggressive,” he said. “I think no one will like playing Lexington. We’ll going to be aggressive and we’re going to make sure that they understand that when they come to play us or we come to play them, they’re in for a fight. It’s going to be a full game. You’re going to have to be ready.”

Categories: Lexington, Lexington County, Sports