Earl Fountain retires after 30 years of coaching basketball

Published 12:00 pm Monday, March 4, 2024

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For 30 years, Earl Fountain has coached basketball to girls and boys from Hatteras Island.

On Feb. 15, 2024, he was honored for those years of coaching, with current and former basketball players gathered to say thanks for all those years.

Accolades were shared: “Thank you for dedicating thankless hours … You were the same coach for us no matter what the score,” said Kristian Head, a former basketball player.

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Kelly Forsythe Williams praised his ability to take jokes and thanked Fountain for mentoring her as a young coach.

Fountain started coaching basketball when the school was grades kindergarten through 12 and called Cape Hatteras School. When the new elementary school for students pre-k through fifth grade opened in 2002, middle and high school students attended what is now called Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies.

Coach Fountain kept coaching.

He coached the girls 2008-09 team to the regional finals in Greenville.

During four years of play, seniors Brianne Rosell, Caitlyn Gray and Kristian Head compiled an overall 76-17 record. And for three straight years, including the 2008-09 season, these young women played on teams that won the Tideland Athletic Conference regular season title and the conference tournament. The team ended with a 23-3 record.

In 2009, Fountain was Tideland Athletic Coach of the Year. At that time, he told parents to be proud of their student-athletes. “They will be very successful in what they do.”

The season ended in the third round of state playoff competition

And, he coached the girls 2018 team that blew through the Atlantic 6 Conference, defeated both Manteo and First Flight and ended the regular season undefeated. The team won the conference tournament. The team made it to the Elite Eight round, where the Hatteras Island girls battled Pamlico County and lost to finish the season with a 25-1 record.

It was a surprise to walk into the Cape Hatteras Secondary gym on Feb. 15, 2024, to see Jimmy Furlough and Bob Kakretz as two of the three referees for the evening. Furlough, from Columbia, said “I coached against him for 10 years.” Kakretz has been refereeing since 1984 and called many Cape Hatteras games.

Former Cape Hatteras athletic director Tim Spruill said Fountain “developed a relationship with all his players.”

Current principal Beth Rooks wrote: “Earl Fountain has been an icon at CHSS for the last 30 years. He has dedicated his time and energy to developing a solid basketball program at our school but, more importantly, has spent time developing individuals with solid character and respect in the lives of hundreds of our present and former students.”