The Berea Pirates boys’ basketball team will have a new face on the sideline as the school named Ray Valentine as its next head coach last Friday.
Valentine brings a ton of coaching experience to his new post, including assistant stops at Georgetown College, where he was on the coaching staff of the 2013 NAIA Division 1 national champion, Kentucky State University, Western Hills High School, Bondurant Middle School, Kentucky County Day, Western High School, Eminence High School. In addition to his coaching at the prep and college level, Valentine also served as head coach for the Kentucky Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) championship squads in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
“Coach Valentine has an extensive and successful background at all levels,” said Berea Director of Athletics Jerry Bingham. “He has coached at the middle school, high school, college, and AAU level for more than 20 years. From our first conversation, I could tell he has a lot of fire, energy, and compassion for working with student-athletes.”
Though Valentine has been with the program less than a week, he has come away impressed with Berea’s student-athletes and feels his experience will benefit the program going forward.
“I like what I have seen so far from the players. They are all very eager to get started, as I am,” the coach said. “I bring a wealth of knowledge to the program being I’ve been blessed to coach at all levels with different types of talent, along with working for outstanding institutions, with this, I hope I can help these young men continue to succeed in education, athletics and life.”
Berea is a homecoming of sorts for Valentine.
“Berea holds a special place in my family’s heart,” Valentine explained. “My wife’s (Celina) family is originally from Berea, so that made the decision a little easier because it felt like coming home.”
The offensive attack will be all about tempo, Valentine said.
“We will try and spread the floor along with playing an up-tempo style,” he said. “Defensively, we will play a mixture of different schemes, depending on the scouting report.”
The first thing on the agenda is for the new coach and players to learn one another, but Valentine is confident that the sky is the limit once they do.
“I expect us to be very competitive,” he said. “(Success) depends on how fast the boys understand the new system and their dedication. We plan to bring an exciting style of play to the program, along with continuing to support our community.”
Valentine said many people are to thank for his new opportunity.
“First of all, I would like to thank God, my wife, Celina, my daughter Jasmine and son Rayden, along with family and friends for all the support over the years,” he said. “I would like to also thank the Berea administration for this once in a lifetime coaching opportunity, which has always been a dream of mine. And thank you to the entire Berea community for welcoming us with open arms.”