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High school varsity girls basketball coach resigns

Citing frustration over a lack of commitment on the part of players, Halifax County High School Head Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Matthew McCargo has resigned from his post.

“You have to be out there doing something with the girls year-round,” said McCargo.

“I’m making the time, making the sacrifice, but I’m just not getting the commitment from the girls showing they want to work hard.”

McCargo, who has coached the Comets varsity girls basketball team since the 2008-2009 season, confirmed Thursday afternoon he has turned in a letter of resignation to Halifax County High School Athletic Director Allen Lawter.

“I’m not mad with anybody,” McCargo pointed out.

“I love the girls program, and I hope they find somebody who will motivate them and get the girls out.”

In his letter of resignation, McCargo said, “My reasons for this resignation are that the Virginia High School League permitting you to practice year-round undoubtedly puts pressure on me to work with the girls from the middle to high school year-round by myself to build a program.”

Lack of competition for positions on the varsity squad greatly diminished the quality of players kept on the varsity squad, he explained.

“They (the players) don’t have to work hard during the summer, and just basically show up and be on the team,” McCargo explained.

“Lack of competition on the varsity squad ultimately diminishes the quality of the players we keep on the squad.

“My ability to get the student-athletes to buy into the work hard during the summer to compete in the winter concept has not been bought into.”

“Of course, with the Washington-Coleman Community Center getting ready to come online, I’m just trying to do things to get ready for its opening,” McCargo said Thursday.

“I love the game of basketball. I love sports, but really love basketball, and for the girls I want more for the players than they do for themselves.”

McCargo, who also serves as Director of the Recreation Department for the Town of South Boston, said time conflicts between his work schedule and coaching duties was not the primary reason for his stepping down.

McCargo leaves as the Comets head coach with a 56-34 overall career record, which includes one Group AAA Western Valley District regular-season championship.

The varsity girls basketball program showed steady improvement under McCargo, with the Comets finishing the 2008-09 season with an 11-12 record, including a signature road win against William Fleming in the semi-finals of the Western Valley District Tournament.

In the 2009-10 season, the Comets finished with a 7-1 regular season record in the district, losing a playoff game with William Fleming for the number one seed in the district tournament before falling to Franklin County in the district tournament semifinals.

McCargo led the Lady Comets to one of their most successful seasons in school history in the 2010-2011 season, the Comets finishing with a 21-2 record, including a 20-0 mark in the regular season.

Halifax County High School advanced to the Northwest Region Tournament that year, defeating Riverbend High School in the tournament quarterfinals before losing to Forest Park High School in the Northwest Region Tournament semifinals.

Following the ultra-successful 2010-11 campaign where the Comets graduated nine seniors, Halifax County High School dipped to a 6-15 record last season and failed to make the district playoffs. 

“I will be at the recreation dept and basically going back to what I was doing, working with the girls during the summer,” said McCargo.

“I will find a group of girls who really want it and want to work, and if I can find six or seven in the same age group, I will be back during the summer playing two or three tournaments and doing the Commonwealth Games.”

McCargo said he will continue to work with the girls on the recreation level, and prepare them for play at the middle school and high school level.

“I’ll still be contributing from this end, and I’ll be working with Brad (Ballou) over at the county recreation department,” McCargo pointed out.

McCargo said his experience with the program was “priceless.”

“My plan was to be there three more years where the varsity and jayvee programs were strong and doing well with younger players coming in,” explained McCargo.

“It wasn’t so much the losing or talent level. I’m not running because I’m scared of losing or whatever, but we’ve got to work.

“I do want to thank the Town of South Boston for allowing me to coach at the high school,” he added.

“Without them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity.”