COLLINSVILLE - The Henry County School Board approved the division superintendent’s recommendation to fill the Bassett High School boys basketball coaching vacancy at its monthly meeting last week.
DeMario Mattox takes over the helm of the Bengals starting this season.
Mattox, a former standout player at Bassett and Franklin County, coached Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s eight-grade boys basketball team in 2019-2020. He was in his first year in charge of the Eagles..
BFMS finished 8-4 in the Roanoke Valley Middle School District, 8-5 overall and completed its season with a two-game winning streak.
Mattox’s son was on BFMS’s squad each of the past two seasons.
Mattox has served as an advisor and instructor in the Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) Upward Bound program since 2011, and has also served students as a coach and assistant coach in Virginia and North Carolina since 2012.
Mattox is a former assistant boys basketball coach at Carlisle School under former head coach Jason Niblett.
“I’m honored and excited to be the next head coach at Bassett High,” Mattox said in a release from the school. “My goal for this program is to focus on a few key concepts; character development, skill development, time, encouragement, dedication, and teamwork.
“My hope is to help mold these young men into bright, brave and respectful individuals on and off the court and to build a program that focuses on skill development which will allow my players to compete at the highest level.
“The encouragement, dedication and time these young men will put in will help build a solid teamwork foundation that will create success at an optimal level,’’ Mattox said.
Mattox takes over for former head coach Adam Haynes. The Bengals finished 3-21 last season.
Bassett and Franklin County have played as Piedmont District foes and non-district opponents.
Haynes is a former Bassett assistant under current Eagles bench boss Tom Hering and is also a past head coach at Patrick County.
The appointment of Mattox was approved by the Henry County School Board after reconvening from closed session.
“I’m excited to welcome (DeMario) to our Bengal family,” Bassett Principal Tiffiny Gravely said in a press release. “I’m impressed with (DeMario’s) enthusiasm and passion for the game of basketball. Even more impressive is his aspiration to build character and leadership in our student-athletes.
“It’s important to me that we have a coach who cares about our players’ moral development and emotional intelligence just as much as their athletic performance.’’
I look forward to working with (DeMario) as he builds character, leadership, and sportsmanship in our players while teaching them the fundamentals of basketball. I’m confident that he will have a positive impact on our players and mold them into respectable young men.”
Franklin County, coached by Doug Conklin, was 41-10 during Mattox’s junior (2003-2004) and senior years (2004-2005).
Each season came to an end in the semifinals of the Group AAA Northwest Region boys basketball tournament with setbacks at C.D. Hylton (2004) and at home to Potomac (2005).
In the 2005 loss, Potomac drove the length of the floor for a game-winning lay-up on the final play of regulation; the Panthers were victorious, 50-48.
Mattox is a former college player at Hampton University and Wingate (North Carolina) University.
The Franklin News-Post contributed information to this story.