One of the most revered coaches from across the Wilmington area resigned this week as Sherri Tynes stepped down as head of the Laney High School girls’ basketball team.
Tynes fought through health issues for the last few seasons to remain on the court, but multiple surgeries due to pain in her feet limited her mobility and was the main reason for making the announcement.
“It’s definitely not something I took lightly,” said Tynes. “But when you can’t give 100 percent like you expect your kids to give you, it’s time to re-evaluate. It’s not exactly the way I wanted to leave, but you can only stand around so long. It’s been tough to not be involved.
“I’m certainly going to miss competing, but I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people and great kids. It’s really been about the kids. The good news is I’ll still be around and able to enjoy it from a different perspective.”
Other schools and coaches from across the area have been reaching out via social media.
“Coach Tynes is one of the great ones. Will miss watching her teams play. @laneygirlsbball” -@CoachWainwright
After taking on the job in Buctown in 1993 off a three-year head coaching stint at UNCW, Tynes quickly established a competitive trademark on the floor. One of her biggest attributes has been the ability to get the most out of her players.
“Coach Tynes is what all coaches should strive to be: a great person, mentor to her players and an outstanding coach,” said Laney Athletic Director Fred Lynch. “She had the rare ability to get the max from players and teams. Her teams received her love, but they all knew that she would hold them accountable.”
Through the wins and losses – though there haven’t been many losses during her 23 years on the sidelines with a 423-189 record – the tenacity of her coaching style has been ingrained in the Laney program for the past two-plus decades.
From guiding star players like WNBA veteran Tamera Young to leading teams with athletes who didn’t even play basketball as their most prominent sport during high school, Tynes never had a losing season, with four conference championships and seven conference tournament titles.
The words most used to define Tynes’ coaching philosophy have been defense, team first, and hustle. Whether points and wins were easy to come by or not, opponents knew before going up against Laney those three attributes would not waver from one season to the next.
“Those things have always been important to me and to Laney,” Tynes added. “You’re not always going to have those type of kids like the Tamera Youngs and Qwedia Wallaces so you have to figure out a way to get the most out of the kids. That’s a testament to our assistants and having great kids willing to try and do just about everything to make it work for our teams through the years. That’s on them.”
While her knack for relating to players and getting them to buy into those concepts has been one key characteristic during the successful run, Tynes’ modesty might send her quietly into the sunset. However, those associated within the basketball community truly value the effort and time put in as one of the recognizable figures across the area and state when it comes to girls’ hoops.
“Coach Tynes was one of the best coaches I’ve ever had,” said Young, who is an eight-year pro competing with the Chicago Sky of the WNBA. “Her knowledge and passion for the game was exactly what I needed in high school to help guide me and prepare me for college. It wasn’t only about what I did on the court. She kept me grounded and held me accountable off the court as well. I will forever be indebted to Coach Tynes. Laney is truly losing not only a great coach but great person.”
In addition to her nearly 70-percent career winning percentage at Laney, she’s collected a ton of accomplishments, from her 400th win in 2014, to leading the East All-Stars at the annual North Carolina East-West All Star Game in 2013.
Longtime assistant Russ Adams has been associated with the Bucs’ basketball program nearly the entire length of Tynes’ stint. He does not plan on applying for the head job, but will continue with the program until the school hires a new head coach, at which time his role will be re-examined. In the meantime, Adams will be running the summer workout program.
“Coach Tynes has been more than a basketball coach at Laney,” Adams said. ” She has been instrumental in touching the lives of over 200 young women by instilling in them the characteristics that make for success their entire lives. It has been an absolute privilege to coach along side Coach Tynes for 21 years and even more of a privilege to call her my friend.”