ROUGHEDGE — Michael Helms said he planned to spend the next few years leading up to his retirement teaching and coaching golf at Cuthbertson High when he stepped down as the Cavaliers’ head boys basketball coach after the 2019-20 season.
But when an opportunity came along, Helms couldn’t pass it up. This offseason, Helms was announced as Parkwood’s boys basketball coach again. He graduated from Parkwood in 1978, coached the basketball team there around the turn of the century, and still feels deeply connected to the Roughedge community.
“(Parkwood) is home,” Helms said. “There’s always been a little tug to come back there at some point, and it was good timing. They’ve been in a tough spot. I’ll be the fourth coach in four years, and it’s an opportunity to come back and give some stability to the program for a little while.”
Helms said he plans to coach Parkwood, which is in the process of choosing a new school mascot, at least until all of the team’s current players graduate. After five or so seasons, he will then reevaluate his future.
Helms has spent a lot of time at Parkwood in the past, and he’s also known around the county for building the Cuthbertson boys basketball program from the ground up and serving a stint as the Cavaliers’ athletic director.
In 11 seasons as Cuthbertson’s head coach, Helms amassed an overall record of 177-122. In 2011-12 and 2012-13, the Cavaliers made it all the way to the 2A state title game before falling to a Brandon Ingram-led Kinston team by three points both seasons.
Before Cuthbertson, Helms spent four seasons as Porter Ridge’s first-ever boys basketball coach.
“I’ve reached out to a lot of alumni since I’ve been back and the support that I’ve always known has been in this community is extremely strong,” Helms said. I’ve gotten such positive responses. I’m just excited to be back.”
Parkwood has an overall record of 13-58 over the past three seasons under three different head coaches. Last year, Parkwood finished 3-19 overall and last in the Southern Carolina Conference (2-12).
Parkwood lost a double-digit scorer that could have returned. Xzavier Ivey, who averaged 10.3 points per game. Ivey, would have been a senior at Parkwood this season, but has since transferred to United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte.
Helms is confident the program can be rebuilt, and he likes what he’s seen thus far.
“When things aren’t going well, it’s easy for people to just look inward and only think about themselves,” Helms said. “And so our first challenge is, ‘Hey, we have to become a team.’ Until we do that, what we do on the court isn’t really going to matter. And I’m seeing that. I’m seeing kids looking out for each other. We’ve been doing our workouts at 6:30 in the morning, and they’re showing up and excited to be there. They miss practice.”
Parkwood kicks off the 2021 season on Jan. 6 on the road against defending Southern Carolina Conference co-champion Weddington.