The 2015-16 athletics coaching staff at Knightdale High will include a number of fresh faces.
Knightdale has hired new head coaches for next school year for wrestling, volleyball, girls soccer, swimming and cheerleading, athletics director Chad Smothers announced this week.
Alex Von Hoene, the former wrestling coach at Knightdale from 2004-12, will return to take over the program after three years as the athletic director at Heritage Middle School in Wake Forest.
“I missed the relationships at the high school level,” he said.
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A former wrestler himself at Appalachian Stat, Von Hoene helped to boost the Knights into relevancy during his previous tenure and hopes to continue its successful tradition next year.
Ross Field will move from Indiana to accept the volleyball head coach position, replacing Anna Gay. He inherits a team that went 11-3 in the Greater Neuse River Conference but lost in the first round of the 4A playoffs in 2014.
“The girls have done a great job building a program, but I’m hoping to bring the style of volleyball we play in Indiana to them and making what they do better,” said Field.
Aaron Steele will assume control of the girls soccer program after previously coaching at West Craven High in Vanceboro, N.C. He also boasts experience coaching for regional teams in state-level games and takes over a Knightdale team that squeaked into the state playoffs this spring but was also eliminated in the first round.
“I’m honestly so excited,” Steele said. “All I can think about is trying to target (getting to) the second round and shooting for the stars here.”
Blake Addison, an eight-year coaching veteran of USA club swimming, will join the Knightdale swimming program next winter. Having worked alongside former Olympic qualifiers and a U.S. national team coach, the Knightdale native said he’s “prepared…in the sense that I’ve had a diverse range of experiences.”
“I’m familiar with the dynamics of the team…it’s a great opportunity for success,” Addison added.
Daniel Kearns has been promoted from interim to full-time head coach of the cheerleading program. He hopes to get the team involved in more competitions in 2015-16, as they participated in only one this year.
“I’m excited to take the talent that’s here and shape it into something great,” Kearns said.
The Knights’ football team also added two new assistant coaches: Jeremy Fullbright, who served as offensive coordinator under Smothers at Leesville Road up until 2013, and Darin Stinson, who formerly coached as a defensive coordinator for rival program East Wake. Fullbright was also Leesville’s first varsity boys lacrosse coach.