HENRIETTA — The search for the next head coach of the varsity boys basketball program is over for CHASE High School. Dillon Dunford, a former standout at Smoky Mountain High School, will look to lead the Trojans to success.
Dunford played on the collegiate level at Lenoir-Rhyne and Western Carolina and has served as a AAU coach with the Game Changers out of Asheville and most recently served as an assistant at Pisgah High School.
Dunford had just one word to describe his feelings about being at CHASE.
“Electric,” he said. “It’s electric to be here. We wanted a place to where we could come in and build a culture. This culture will be here after we leave.”
The we Dunford is referring to is himself and his assistant coach Nate Frazier, who played high school basketball at North Meck and ultimately played overseas. He also played professional football in the Arena League.
Dunford played for Jimmy Cleveland at Smoky Mountain and says a lot of the culture he learned there, he will use at CHASE.
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard is one of my favorite sayings,” he said. “We lived by that in high school. Here at CHASE, we want to be the best defensive team in the state. That is one thing I am going to hang my hat on. We want to run and gun.”
Dunford said he and Frazier wanted to be somewhere where they could go in and change the culture.
“We want to show kids that hard work, persistence, dedication and a winning attitude will take them far in life,” he said. “We want to establish a winning environment, a winning culture and a winning attitude here that is not just on the basketball court, but also in every day life. I think those things are imperative with what we are trying to build. We want to take players and put them in a system where they can succeed and win and in return they will become successful people as the system succeeds. It’s the community/school before self. We are together winners here.”
Dunford says he and Frazier want to help the kids at CHASE train and develop.
“We know Rome wasn’t build overnight, but we do have expectations and we have an unmatched work ethic and a formula and a system,” he said.
Another aspect Dunford and Frazier hope to bring to CHASE is community involvement. They hope to start a travel ball organization as well as some rec league basketball.
“Coach Nate will be using our gym to help train kids in our community and the money earned from that will be donated to CHASE High School,” said Dunford.
In addition to coaching basketball, Dunford will be the Distance Learning Coordinator at CHASE.
“It really is a blessing to be here at CHASE,” he said.