One of the state’s fastest-rising basketball coaches is heading to a warmer climate.
Taylor County boys’ basketball coach Rich Gatewood has resigned to become a coach at 22 Feet Academy, a prep school based in Greenville, S.C. NextUpRecruits.com first reported the move.
Gatewood will coach the national prep team and will oversee operations of all of the academy’s teams.
Mike Rawson, founder and CEO of 22 Feet Academy, reached out to Gatewood in May and he initially declined the position. Gatewood couldn’t turn him down when he called again.
“It’s the next step in my career to be challenged in many different ways,” Gatewood told the Herald-Leader. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the talent’s bad in Kentucky, but once you get to the prep level it’s like coaching a college team. You’ve gotta know how to coach against different guys and mismatches and whatnot. I think I’m prepared for it and I’m ready for the challenge.”
Gatewood coached the Cardinals to two straight Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2015 and 2016, their first trips to the big dance since 1983. He was at Taylor County for three years after one season at Moore in Louisville. His career record is 102-29.
“I know all the high school coaches in the state are happy to see me go, especially the ones in the 5th Region,” Gatewood said with a laugh. “And you can quote me on that.”
On its website, 22 Feet Academy is described as “a ‘one stop shop’ for student-athletes to hone their skills. Our academy is ten months of intense basketball and education.” The academy partners with Shannon Forest Christian School.
Eli Wright, a Class of 2016 star who transferred from Apollo ahead of his senior season, played last season at 22 Feet Academy. Justin Miller, an all-state player at Owensboro who originally enrolled at Kentucky Wesleyan, joined the 2016 class and also played at 22 Feet Academy last season.
Quentin Goodin, a three-time All-State selection who was a Mr. Basketball finalist this season, graduated from Taylor County and will play at Xavier University next season.