Coach Ty Johnson “Accepting the Challenge”

Born and raised in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, Ty Johnson coached girls’ basketball at Caldwell Community College for one year.  In 2016, Johnson accepted the head coaching position of the boys’ varsity at West Brunswick in Shallotte, North Carolina. In the two seasons at West Shallotte, coach Johnson averaged 15 wins per season. At the conclusion of the 2018-19 season, Cox Mill head coach Jody Barbee announced his resignation after an unbelievable run. Cox Mill had played in three consecutive NCHSAA 3A state championships, winning two of the three. 

For coach Johnson, this opportunity allowed him a chance to get closer to home. Cox Mill had enjoyed tremendous success and was one of the top programs in the NCHSAA 3A for the past four years. However, anyone taking over the Cox Mill’s program would face a big challenge. Cox Mill would graduate their entire starting lineup that averaged 70 points a game including McDonald All American and Duke signee Wendell Moore. During the last three seasons, Cox Mill had gone 28-3, 29-3 and 27-6 and won a state championship in 2018 and 2017. Coach Johnson would have his hands full, but this opportunity gave him a new start to create his own team, his own culture. That being said, the general sentiment coming into the new coaching gig at Cox Mill was more of a “good luck” than “congratulations.”

Coming into the 2019-20, very few people expected anything out of this current team and rightfully so. Cox Mill lost their starting five that accounted for 99% of the team’s points and had a tremendous four-year run. Fast forward to today and Cox Mill stands a surprisingly 12-2, not to mention most people would have thought they would be 2-12. In speaking with head coach Ty Johnson, he gives all the credit to the players. “They all bought in when I got here. It’s been “we over me” and we have established a culture where the players believe no one is bigger than the program. Our motto is PTP which stands for Program Team Player.” 

This year’s team is currently averaging 80 points per game and almost an almost unheard of, 20 assists per game.  In addition, this team is based on unselfishness and making the extra pass. Leading the way for Cox Mill is sophomore Jaquava Propst-Allison. He is averaging 15.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 4.4 APG which is the team high for each category. Seniors Wesley Poindexter and Bailey Gentile are averaging 10.7 PPG and 10.4 PPG respectively. In addition, Cox Mill is getting additional scoring from junior John Anthony Baker with 9.1 PPG, while sophomore Karon Boyd and junior Chris Hunter are scoring 8.9 PPG and 8.7 PPG respectively, not to mention sophomore Marcus Morgan comes in at 5.4 PPG. 

For coach Ty Johnson, he accepted the challenge and opportunity at Cox Mill. He came in and has maintained the winning culture, all while establishing his own core beliefs of “team before self.” His players have bought in and while coach Johnson is quick to credit his players, we also know his coaching and leadership have also been instrumental in the team’s early season success. 

Photo credit: Todd Maulden/Special to the Independent Tribune