Haley steps down as girls basketball coach at First Baptist
By David Shelton
Charleston – First Baptist girls’ basketball coach Graham Haley stepped down from his post earlier this week, choosing to focus more on his duties as the school’s athletic director.
Haley spent six seasons as head coach, inheriting a program that won five total games in the two seasons prior to his arrival. The coach had only one losing season, his first, and finished with 88 career wins. His 2016-17 team advanced to the AAA state finals this season before losing to Northwood Academy.
“This is a good, positive step for my career as an administrator,” said Haley, who took over as athletic director this year and taught a full class load. “I have goals in administration and this move helps me greatly in those goals. I love coaching and I know I will miss it but this is the best thing for me. I am excited about the potential of our athletic program at First Baptist and now I can really focus on making it good for all sports.”
The school wasted no time in naming Haley’s replacement. Former Northwood Academy coach Presley Singleton will assume the position of girls’ varsity coach in the coming year.
Singleton, a 17-year coaching veteran, led Northwood to consecutive state titles before leaving the school last August. She came to First Baptist as an assistant athletic director, never imagining she would one day be the coach.
“I honestly had never thought about it because Graham was here and doing a fantastic job,” said Singleton, whose son Joseph Powell is a sophomore basketball player at First Baptist. "My move here was a chance to get more involved in athletic administration. I missed coaching but I really enjoyed what I was doing here. I didn’t automatically jump in and say yes when Graham talked to me about it but I am grateful for the opportunity to build on what he established here.”
Haley leaves his position feeling very satisfied with the direction he has led the basketball program. Though this year’s team will lose five players, the coach feels a foundation is firmly established.
“I’m very proud of what we have done with the girls’ program,” he said. “It took a lot of commitment from a lot of players. The culture and perception of our program has changed dramatically over the last six years. We feel like we have the right coach in place to take the program to an even higher level.”