After 37 years of high school basketball coaching, and 574 wins, head coach Marc Payne announced his retirement Wednesday morning.
“I have come to the incredibly tough decision to retire from my position as head basketball coach at Ashe County High School,” Payne said in a statement released to the media. “I have a coaching standard that I have followed throughout my coaching career. I will not enter this season, or any season, without the confidence I can uphold that standard.”
Payne coached at Beaver Creek High School for 14 years, and then made the move to Watauga, where he coached for 13 years. In his final stop, Payne returned home to coach the Huskies for the previous 10 years.
Payne stated that his decision to retire was because of personal health concerns. Payne suffered a heart attack this past summer.
Scott Grubb will be taking over the position as varsity head coach, having spent several seasons as the junior varsity head coach and an assistant under Payne on the varsity staff.
“Scott is prepared and ready for this opportunity. He is an outstanding coach and he will do a wonderful job as our head basketball coach,” said Payne.
While Payne will take a step back from the basketball program, he will continue to serve as ACHS Athletic Director.
Coach Payne’s legacy will be one that nobody will soon forget. His career record stands at 574-383, including 161 wins at ACHS. Payne guided his teams to 13 regular season conference championships, including six straight from 1982-87 at Beaver Creek. Payne also saw his teams win seven conference tournaments, five sectional tournament championships, make four regional tournament appearances, and a third place finish in the 2A State Tournament in 1978.
Overall, Payne had 11 teams ranked in the Northwest NC final poll at the end of the season, and six teams in the NC top ten.
In other personal accomplishments, Payne was named Coach of the Year in his respective conference a total of 17 times. He also served as head coach of the Region 7 team in the 1988 and 1990 State games of North Carolina, as well as head coach of the West team in the 1989 NCCA McDonald’s 40th Annual East-West All-Star game and head coach of the NC All-Stars in the 2002 Carolinas All-Star Classic.
The basketball season is set to start with a scrimmage at home on Saturday, Nov. 17 and the first regular season game at East Surry on Tuesday, Nov. 20