Mike Thibodeau, who was named Southeast Raleigh Highs football coach this week, got a good look at the program last year while he was quarterbacks coach and head junior varsity coach at Knightdale High.
Knightdale beat Southeast 42-14 last season in the varsity game, but Thibodeau was impressed with the Bulldogs personnel.
From a football standpoint, having coached against the Bulldogs twice last season (varsity and junior varsity games), I feel that the future is very bright for the program, and I look forward to helping take it to the next level this season and in the future, he said.
Thibodeau grew up in South Windsor, Conn., and played baseball and football at Southern Connecticut State as a pitcher and quarterback.
He coached five seasons in Connecticut and was offensive coordinator at Cromwell High, which reached the state title game in 2011 and averaged a state record 501 yards per game.
He favors an aggressive offense and likes the pistol formation, although he plans to adjust the offense to fit the personnel.
Thibodeau succeeds Marvin Burke, who resigned in December after two seasons at the school.
Southeast Raleigh attracted me for many reasons, Thibodeau said. I love that Southeast is a magnet program and offers students many different options as they continue their education and prepare for college.
I also love that leadership is a main concern so that students strive to excel as members of the community.
Wrestling finals: The individual state wrestling championships, one of the N.C. High School Athletic Associations biggest events, will begin Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum.
About 785 wrestlers are expected to compete in almost 1,400 individual matches during the three days of competition. The NCHSAA will crown 56 state champions Saturday, one in each of 14 weight classes for each of four classifications.
First-round matches will begin Thursday in the 2A, 3A and 4A classifications. Those wrestlers will resume competition at 9 a.m., Friday with the 1A wrestlers starting at 2 p.m. The 1A tournament will start later because it has fewer schools with wrestling programs.
The championship finals will start at 5 p.m.
Winston-Salem Parkland, Orange, Croatan and North Rowan won individual team titles in 2013.
Earlier this month, Parkland (4A), Eden Morehead (3A), Newton-Conover (2A) and Mitchell (1A) won dual-team tournament championships.
Millbrook impresses in loss: Broughton boys basketball coach Jeff Ferrell came away from Mondays 64-56 victory against Millbrook with admiration for the Wildcats.
Our kids really played their hearts out and they played to win, Ferrell said. Millbrook struggled a bit from the perimeter in the fourth quarter and we hit enough free throws to sneak out of there with a win.
Trust me, Millbrook is a fantastic team and are certain to make a deep run in the playoffs next week. I just hope we can do the same and represent the Cap Eight well.
Millbrook will advance as the No. 1 seed from the Cap Eight in next weeks NCHSAA championships.
Granville claims titles: The Granville Central boys and girls basketball teams won or shared the Tar Roanoke Athletic 1A regular-season titles.
The Granville Central boys (18-6) lost their last regular-season game to Northwest Halifax 66-55 to fall into a tie with Weldon and Louisburg for the title. The Granville Central girls finished their regular season 19-0.
The conference tournament is Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Louisburg High.
Big Eight tournament: Orange is the top seed in the Big Eight 3A boys basketball tournament that will begin Wednesday and end Friday.
Orange and Chapel Hill each finished 12-2 in the league. Chapel Hill is at home against Northern Vance while Chapel Hill hosts Pittsboro Northwood.
The other boys games are Oxford Webb at Southern Durham and Cedar Ridge at Cardinal Gibbons.
The Chapel Hill girls are host to Orange, and Northern Vance goes to No. 2 Gibbons. Webb is at No. 3 Cedar Ridge and Southern Durham is at No. 4 Northwood.
The Chapel Hill girls (23-0) remained undefeated Monday night with a 46-28 Big Eight 3A victory against Cardinal Gibbons. The N&O had the score reversed in Tuesdays sports section
Catherine Romaine led Chapel Hill with 14 points and Jamella Smith scored 11.
Spring sports: The N&Os spring sports previews will run on Feb. 23. The regular season will begin next week.