The Cary High sideline will look different next season.
Cary boys basketball coach Allan Gustafson Jr. stepped down on Wednesday, ending a 20-year run as the leader of the Imps. According to a WCPSS press release, Gustafson, 58, will still teach at the school.
Prior to becoming head coach at Cary, the man affectionately known as "Coach Gus" was the Cary JV boys basketball coach for 11 years and also helped coach golf, track and field, cross country and baseball. He was inducted into the Cary Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
He and assistant Brian Pendergraft, who graduated from Cary three years after Gustafson did, coached basketball together for all of those years. Perhaps no head coach-assistant combo in the state has been together as long as they were.
Gustafson's last four teams went 80-30 overall, with the best season coming in 2016, when the Imps were the state 4A runner-up. Cary went 31-2 that year, falling to Charlotte Catholic in the NCHSAA championship game.
During that dramatic season which included a number of buzzer-beaters, Gustafson, who grew up within walking distance, was met with an outpouring of support from former players and students.
“ ‘Are you making a difference?’ You have these existential questions you ask,” Gustafson said at the time. “It’s been very heartwarming, very touching and very gratifying.”