The Chuckey-Doak girls basketball team will be under new leadership next winter after head coach Lisa Darnell stepped down from her post on Thursday.
Darnell led the Lady Knights for two seasons as the head coach and had been part of the program as an assistant coach for 18 years prior to that. The Lady Black Knights went 6-23 this season and were eliminated in the Region 1-2A Tournament quarterfinals by Gatlinburg-Pittman. The Lady Knights were 4-14 in 2021.
“I just felt like it was time for somebody else to lead the program,” Darnell said. “I just want what is best for Chuckey-Doak high school. My heart is still at Chuckey-Doak and I will still be there as a teacher. My years with this basketball program are some of my best memories, and I wish those girls the best going forward.”
In her two seasons Darnell had very little experience at her disposal and mostly relied on freshman and sophomores. Chuckey-Doak had just one senior and one junior on this year’s squad, but going forward those young girls coming back have a lot game experience and Darnell hopes that will help whoever the new coach is get off to strong start.
“We’ve been young and we’ve been rebuilding for two or three years,” Darnell said. “But those girls have received a lot of playing time. They will go into next year with one senior and a big junior class, along with a sophomore class that has played a lot. I would like to think that the program is in a good place for the next person to take over.”
Chuckey-Doak athletic director Kyle Donahue said the search for a new coach will begin immediately, and they will look to fill the position as soon as they find the right candidate.
“We are going to cast a wide net and see who we can find to lead this program,” Donahue said. “It will depend on what teaching position we have open, and that is something we obviously don’t have an abundance of.
“We want someone that can be a great leader of our athletes and a great leader of our coaches. We want someone with integrity, someone that can be a face of this community.”
Chuckey-Doak is also still looking to fill its head football coach position after Matt Ripley stepped down on January 31. Donahue said that school has received a lot of interest in the job from coaches around the region, around the state and from out of state, and that he hopes to have that search complete in the near future.