Former Sevier teacher, basketball coach returns

Aaron Gourley takes the reigns of Sevier Middle's boys basketball team again

A RETURN TO FORM? Aaron Gourley coaches his team during the 2015

Aubrey Vincent

A RETURN TO FORM? Aaron Gourley coaches his team during the 2015 "Tribe Classic". Gourley has returned to Sevier as a basketball coach, but will continue teaching math at Dobyns-Bennett High School.

Conner Hall, Web Editor

The boys’ basketball team is one of the most well-known and successful sports teams at Sevier Middle School. This year, both coaches are completely new to the team. The new coaches are Jesse McCormick and Aaron Gourley.

McCormick is an 8th grade science teacher at Sevier and will be the Junior Varsity coach. This is his first year teaching at Sevier Middle.

Gourley is currently a math teacher at Dobyns-Bennett High School. However, for 12 years, he taught Math 8, Algebra I and Geometry at Sevier. His wife, Sara Gourley, is a 7th grade Language Arts teacher at Sevier Middle.

Gourley has been involved in Sevier athletics for many years.

“During my 14 years of teaching, I coached boys’ basketball 12 years and boys and girls track for 7 years,” he said. “I served as John Sevier’s Athletic Director for 10 years. Also, I volunteered as an assistant baseball coach for several years. However, my favorite sport is Ping Pong.”

Gourley has many fond memories of working as a coach.

“My fondest memories in sports is when my teams beat someone who was better than we were because we worked harder and played well as a team,” he said.

Gourley coached the basketball team at Sevier for 11 years. Since he moved to Dobyns-Bennett high school a little over a year ago, he has not had a chance to coach.

“Last year was the first year in 11 years, I was not coaching basketball at John Sevier, and there was a hole in my heart,” he said. “Coaching basketball for John Sevier is in my blood, and I missed it terribly. It gave me insights on how to be a great leader and motivator for students.”

Currently, Gourley is working on a Master’s degree and an Administrator’s license. He moved to Dobyns-Bennett High School because he felt that it would help progress his career in education.

“All my responsibilities at John Sevier had kept me so busy that I procrastinated in going back to school,” he said.

Gourley believes that the sport of basketball relates to life, at least metaphorically.

“You work hard on fundamentals to improve yourself as an individual, you work with a team to accomplish a goal, you have trials and tribulations and, in the end, hard work pays off,” he said.

Gourley has high expectations for the basketball team this year. He wants to win the Middle 7 Conference, qualify for the Area 1 AAA tournament and qualify for the East TN Sectional tournament.

“I am committed to retaining a program I helped build over the past 11 years,” he said. “I am committed to helping the Kingsport City School’s basketball program move in a positive direction of Dobyns-Bennett continuing its premier excellence as a winning basketball program. I will dedicate myself to building a basketball program district-wide that will move Dobyns-Bennett to not only the best in the state, but to become a breeding ground for collegiate athletes.”

There are many qualities Gourley looks for in his players.

“A good middle school basketball player needs to have basic basketball skills such as proper footwork, dribbling, shooting and passing.” Gourley said. “We are also looking for great attitudes and effort. We will look at behavior and grades to make sure the players we select will remain eligible throughout the season. Finally, we look to see what group of individuals we think will play together as a team.”

Several coaches have influenced Gourley’s approach to coaching.

“Duke’s Head Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski is one of my coaching role model,” he said. “I admire his professionalism towards the game. Also, his longevity and success over the years makes me strive to be a better coach.”

Gourley describes his coaching style as upbeat and motivational.

“I want my kids to play hard at all times, games and practices,” he said. “One of my mantras in life is ‘effort, not talent’. The team will work hard on developing their fundamental skills and work on basketball principles that will make them successful at this level and at the high school level.”

According to Gourley, Sevier Middle’s biggest basketball rival this year will be Liberty Bell Middle School.

“Their varsity team is one of the best in the region, and Sevier will be prepared to defeat them,” he said.

Lastly, he would love all the students to attend basketball games this season.

“Basketball games are so fun, and it gives students an opportunity to bond together to form memories they will carry for a lifetime,” Gourley said. “Help support the Warriors and come to the games.”

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