Charles David Collett’s first job as a high school basketball coach has brought him back home.
Collett, a coach the past five years at Stinnett Elementary School, is taking over as the boys basketball coach at Red Bird Mission School, inheriting a rebuilding job at one of eastern Kentucky’s smallest schools.
“I attended and graduated from Red Bird in 1987, played four years of varsity basketball and it has been a dream of mine since I began coaching to some day return to Red Bird to take over the high school basketball program,” Collett said. “My goal is to get this program on a competitive level in the near future. Red Bird is a great school with great staff and kids, and I am beyond excited to be here.”
Collett plans to play a fast-paced style with the Cardinals.
“From what I have seen since arriving here we’ve got a lot of young potential and this team is well suited to play a fast, up-tempo pressing style, which is exactly the style of play we will develop here. I love using aggressive, pressure defense to really get after teams and to get up and down the floor,” he said. “I love shooting the 3 ball, which I feel we should be able to do pretty well, and I feel like we should be able to really improve on our record from last year.”
John D. Wilson took over a struggling Red Bird program just after Collett graduated and led a resurgence as the Cardinals developed into one of the region’s top teams in the 1990s, getting to the 13th Region Tournament finals in 1998. The program began to slide backwards in the new century, falling to 0-24 in 2009.
Wilson retired after 25 years and former ABA player Bobby Hooper took over but lasted only one season as the Cardinals struggled to a 3-14 record in 2014.
Red Bird lost three starters to graduation but will bring back 6-5 sophomore Chandler Caldwell and 6-4 junior Thomas Wilder on the inside. Kaleb Payne, a 6-3 freshman from Stinnett, is the probable starter at point guard. There are several candidates to fill out the lineup, including sophomore forwards Ethan Smith and Jacob Hoskins, junior guard guard Cameron Collett, sophomore guard Steven Leath, freshman guard Tyler Brock and freshman forward Cameron Brock.
“I am really excited at the prospect of how many young kids we have here and really feel like they are going to be something special once they learn the new system, but it is not going to be easy,” Collett said. “We are in a really tough 49th District and 13th Region with a lot of really strong teams in it. It is gonna take a lot of hard work, dedication and putting the time in to be a solid, competitive team, but I feel like we will get there in time.”