James Mountford has played, graduated and coached at Fuquay-Varina High School. But there was one more area of service he wanted to be a part of, and he got his wish last week as he was named the school’s new athletics director.
Mountford has coached the varsity boys’ and girls’ soccer teams in each of the last seven seasons, but will be resigning both positions to focus on his latest challenge, one that he’s thrilled to start.
“I’m so excited, just honored and blessed really, to be named the AD at Fuquay,” Mountford said. “Over time, I’ve felt a very positive working relationship with the wonderful staff at Fuquay. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with each coach and support each of their programs.”
Mountford graduated from the school in 1995, and played basketball and soccer for the Bengals. Becoming the athletics director for his alma mater had been on his mind for the last few years, so he applied immediately the opportunity arose in mid-July as Bruce Hemphill told the school his intentions to retire by the end of the month.
Mountford, the N.C. 4A boys’ soccer coach of the year in 2010, will be vacating his posts as varsity soccer coach of both programs, turning the reins over to current junior varsity soccer coach Todd Dowler. Dowler will be the interim varsity coach for both teams, with Mountford assisting the JV programs, until replacements can be found.
Dowler has been the JV coach for the last four seasons for both genders.
Mountford, who was 105-46-8 at Fuquay in boys’ soccer and 67-63-12 in girls’ (179-87-15 and 113-93-19 overall including a six-year stint at Rocky Mount High), said one of his goals was to be more visible in the community he grew up in and welcome the town’s support for all sports.
“It’s grounded in a real culture of community here in Fuquay,” Mountford said. “It’s a special place to work. Just being a graduate, I feel very fortunate to be the athletic director at Fuquay and I take a lot of pride that was a student-athlete at Fuquay.”
One topic that has been brought up in recent years at Fuquay-Varina is whether the school would add a varsity boys’ or girls’ lacrosse program. The Bengals are the only Tri-Nine Conference team in Wake County that doesn’t have either, but there is a club team for the boys.
It was too early for Mountford to say what that likelihood would be.
“It’ll be probably one of the first things I’ll probably talk about with (principal Edward) McFarland for next year, the 2013-14 season, but I really can’t say either way,” Mountford said. “I want to do what is best for Fuquay-Varina. If that’s what is best for our athletic program, I would be willing to add a lacrosse program, but I right just can’t say either way to be honest with you. Just being hired as AD, there are a lot of things you’ve got to look at in terms of the budget and how many boys and girls are interested in a lacrosse program.”
Blake: 919-460-2606 or twitter.com/JMBpreps