Cary News: Sports

L.J. Hepp back as Panther Creek boys basketball coach

L.J. Hepp’s journey has come full circle as Panther Creek High School announced Monday that he will be the boys basketball coach – again.

Hepp was the school’s first varsity boys basketball coach when it opened in 2006. In his third season, he guided the Catamounts to a 28-2 record and went 50-10 over his last two years.

He left Panther Creek to be the director of basketball operations at the University of South Carolina. After one season there, Hepp became a head coach in a Japanese professional league, but was fired before the end of the season.

After one year away from coaching, he returned to Panther Creek as an assistant athletics director this year. After Todd Schuler announced in April was going to be the AD at Cardinal Gibbons, Hepp was named to replace him in May.

In June, current PC boys basketball coach Mark Adams stepped down after two seasons while citing health and family reasons. Schuler is still the active AD until the end of this month and played a role in hiring Hepp.

“What excites me the most is the opportunity to develop meaningful, impactful relationships with the kids I coach,” Hepp said.

He doesn’t think he’ll be rusty.

“I may have picked up a couple tricks overseas that I wouldn’t mind testing out in the Tri-9 (Conference),” Hepp said.

Hepp will be joined on the varsity staff by current JV coach Dameon Clay and former Clemson star Shawan Robinson. Robinson, a former all-ACC player will be the JV head coach.

Robinson, who played at Leesville Road High School a few years after Hepp did, has taught at Bugg Elementary School for the last two years and will be teaching at Panther Creek next fall.

“Shawan is going to be terrific for our kids in terms of having a role model who has played at the highest level in having success in the ACC and playing overseas,” Hepp said.