Boys’ basketball introduces new head coach


Shelby Foster

New boys’ basketball coach Charlemagne Gibbons meets juniors Nick Weist and Nate Allison during a conference with school staff, students, players, and parents. Gibbons joins the Starr’s Mill family after his previous tenure as an assistant coach at Florida Atlantic University.

Rilee Stapleton, Editor-in-Chief

From renovations around the building to a new drama teacher and a new athletic director, Starr’s Mill has changed quite a bit this school year.

The basketball program isn’t any exception, as they are getting a head start on the 2018-19 season with hiring a new head coach, Charlemagne Gibbons.  

“One reason I like Starr’s Mill is the overall success of the athletic program,” Gibbons said. “There’s a lot of talent in the Fayette County area.”

If my goal is not to come out and compete for a region and state championship, then I’m cutting my team short.

— boys' basketball head coach Charlemagne Gibbons

Gibbons is coming to the Mill from Florida Atlantic University where he served as an assistant coach over the past four years. Before he was at FAU, Gibbons coached Morgan County High School in Madison, Ga.

At Morgan County, Gibbons led the Bulldogs to three consecutive region championships and a state championship. Over the final three seasons there, the team played to a 73-18 record and Gibbons helped develop some of the best players Georgia had to offer at the AAA level.

“[I left] Morgan County at the pinnacle, winning the state championship,” Gibbons said. “[I started] again at the bottom at Florida Atlantic in a very tough situation …That experience of going from the highest point to a lower point shows you the drive you gotta have to be successful.”

Gibbons plans on running a fast-paced scheme on both sides of the floor. “We’re gonna play up-tempo offensively and defensively,” Gibbons said. “I want to be aggressive defensively … offensively I want guys to be confident in their skill set.”

A more aggressive approach could benefit a Starr’s Mill team that only averaged 53.4 points per game last year, while also making an already good defensive team even better. Last year, the Panthers played at a slower pace and worked to get the best shot possible. An uptick in shots taken could result in more scoring, making the Panthers a force to be reckoned with.

“Building the guys’ confidence in shooting the basketball is going to be important,” Gibbons said. “I think we’ll have some good shooters on the team, we just need to build their confidence.”

Despite finishing last year with a 22-8 record to go along with a region championship — the team’s first in school history — and an appearance in the AAAAA Elite 8, Gibbons believes the Panthers can improve upon last season. “If my goal is not to come out and compete for a region and state championship, then I’m cutting my team short,” Gibbons said.

Starr’s Mill is widely known for their excellence in athletics, especially recently. In the past few years, the Panthers have dominated their region in almost every sport, and some teams have even won state championships. This led to back-to-back Director’s Cups during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years.

“All the sports [at Starr’s Mill] have begun to make a push forward,” Gibbons said. “I know the community will stand behind basketball as we begin to make that push forward.”