Fourteen seasons after he last was a high school boys basketball coach, Tony Dunford is back.
Dunford, a former head coach at Christiansburg and Brookville high schools, has been hired as the interim head coach at George Wythe, replacing veteran Pat Burns.
Dunford, 47, who was an assistant at the Wytheville school for the previous three years, takes over a George Wythe program that compiled a 124-19 record with one trip to the VHSL Group 1A title game and another state semifinal appearance in the last five seasons.
Burns coached the Maroons to three successive Group AA final fours from 1984-86 including one title game during his first stint at George Wythe.
Wythe won the Group AA Division 2 state championship under head coach Al Copenhaver in 2008.
“It’s a very storied program with a great tradition,” said Dunford, who teaches environmental science at George Wythe. “All the credit goes to all the coaches before me and all the great players.
“Right now I see myself as a caretaker of an outstanding program. We’re going to try and not miss a beat. We’ve been very successful in the last several years.”
Dunford is a Dublin native who played for Burns at Pulaski County High School, graduating in 1990.
Dunford served as a Pulaski County assistant under Burns and Mark Casseri. He was hired as 26-year-old head coach at Brookville in 1998, spending two seasons at the Seminole District school. He was out of coaching for two years until Christiansburg hired him in 2002 while he was working full time as a mortgage reduction consultant. Dunford coached the Blue Demons for four seasons before spending 10 years as an assistant at Roanoke College under Page Moir.
George Wythe finished 23-5 in 2018-19, losing to J.I. Burton in a Class 1 state quarterfinal.
The Maroons lost their top two scorers: guard Josh Reeves, who graduated; and second-team All-Timesland guard Ty Farrow, who transferred to Page High School in Greensboro. Dunford coached the Maroons for part of the Emory & Henry College camp this summer.
“We’ve got a lot of good kids,” he said. “We’re excited about what we’ve got coming back.”
Injuries knock out Cavs’ Eller, Radford’s Prioleau
Two of Timesland’s top football players will miss the rest of the season because of knee injuries suffered last Friday.
Radford junior running back and defensive back P.J. Prioleau tore his ACL and MCL during the Bobcats’ game against Fort Chiswell.
Lord Botetourt senior running back and defensive back Evan Eller learned he also has a torn ACL in the wake of the Cavaliers’ 20-14 win Friday over Bluefield (W.Va.).
Prioleau led Radford rushing with 1,179 yards and 15 TDs last year as the Bobcats finished 11-2 and reached the VHSL Class 2 semifinals.
Radford coach Matthew Saunders said Prioleau will undergo surgery Sept. 27 with a six- to nine-month recovery period, meaning he will miss Radford’s 2019-20 basketball season. Prioleau was a starting guard on the Bobcats’ Class 2 state basketball championship team in March.
His injury followed a season-ending ACL injury in the preseason to Radford senior linebacker Justice Marshall, who was the team’s leading tackler in 2018. Saunders said Marshall will have surgery Wednesday.
Eller was a two-way mainstay for Lord Botetourt’s Class 3 state semifinal team. Cavaliers coach Jamie Harless said Eller’s ACL injury did not appear to be serious initially.
“The doctor was shocked because [the knee] was so stable,” Harless said.
Eller has an FBS offer from Army.
NCAA championship coach heads Franklin County hall
Franklin County High School will induct seven new members into its athletic hall of fame Oct. 18 including Gary Gilmore, who coached Coastal Carolina University to the 2016 NCAA Division I baseball championship.
Gilmore, a 1976 Franklin County graduate, was the Timesland player of the year as a senior and a participant in the first VHSCA All-Star baseball game. He has a career record of 1,216 wins, 604 losses and 4 ties.
He attended East Tennessee State, Ferrum and Coastal Carolina and is a member of the Ferrum College, USC-Aiken and Salem-Roanoke Baseball halls of fame.
The other inductees are:
- Noel Pinckard (class of 1968), who played football, basketball and baseball and was voted most athletic at the school as a senior, when he pitched a no-hitter against Bedford.
- Carlton Price (1959), who won all-region honors in football and baseball, and also played basketball. He played baseball for three years at Virginia Tech.
- Marshall Flora (1967), who participated in football, baseball and track and field. He was named the Virginia Small College football player of the year at Bridgewater in 1970.
- Abe Naff (1978), who played football and baseball and was named Franklin County’s top athlete as a senior. He was an all-ODAC baseball player at Lynchburg College before leading Ferrum to 10 NCAA tournaments as head coach from 1985-2007 and serving as Ferrum’s athletic director from 2004 until this spring.
- Anne Wright Crutchfield (1985), a two-time Northwest Region selection in girls basketball who played at E&H and became the first female in the ODAC to be named all-conference four times. She coached Franklin County to a Western Valley District title in 2009 and coached E&H to the second round of the Division III tournament in 2018 before becoming the college’s athletic director this year.
- Andre Levisy (1985), who played football, basketball and baseball before playing basketball at Averett and Ferrum. He holds five school records at Ferrum, where he scored 1,027 career points.