Mickey Bissette wanted to be back on the bench, back in the locker room, back teaching basketball to teenagers. A one-year absence was enough.
After stepping away from the game last year to focus on being an athletic director, Bissette was given another chance Monday to be a basketball coach, this time hired to lead the Wake Forest-Rolesville boys team.
"I just felt like I could take the basketball program and help re-establish the tradition they had," Bissette said. "I'm very excited to be coaching in the Cap Eight because it has a lot of great teams in that league."
Bissette, who led Green Hope as its athletic director for the past four years, resigned from the position July 12 to apply for WF-R's coaching job. Now, Bissette will have only one responsibility: to improve a young WF-R team that is expected to have back most of its players from last season.
"I know he has some strong ideas on what he wants to do," said Deran Coe, WF-R's athletic director. "We're excited to have him, and I think when you're a coach at heart you want to be with the kids and have that direct impact on them."
Bissette was Green Hope's first boys basketball coach and led the team for 11 seasons. He took the Falcons to seven consecutive playoff appearances from 2003 to 2009 and became the school's athletic director in 2006.
Bissette said he didn't think he would have the desire to be a coach again after 27 years. But he felt drawn to return this past winter once basketball season started.
"I just missed the practice time," Bissette said. "I feel fortunate that I get to coach basketball and focus on just one thing. I know I'll have more time to keep myself refreshed."
Bissette will replace Brian Mulligan, who led the Cougars to an 8-37 record over the past two seasons.
Coe said he was not only was impressed with Bissette's philosophy but that other coaches in the area had respect and praise for him.
Bissette's understanding of WF-R's history also impressed Coe.
The Cougars were dominant in the '70s and '80s. Under Larry Lindsey, who became one of the most successful coaches in the state, the Cougars won six state titles.
"There's been a good history of basketball here over the years," Coe said. "I think this will bring a bit of resurgence in the program."
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