Black returns to Asheboro volleyball team

ASHEBORO – It turns out Kim Black was pulled back to Asheboro High School volleyball after all.

She’ll be in her third stint as coach of the program, where she won a state championship, when the season begins in the late summer.

“I can’t make any promises except to promise to do my best,” Black said.

She’s the all-time winningest coach at Asheboro, holding a 246-97 record as a varsity coach. She directed the Blue Comets to three state finals, including the Class 3-A title in 1994, and eight conference crowns.

Black has made the rounds among schools in Randolph County, but she made it clear that one school holds a special place for her.

“My volleyball heart has always been at Asheboro,” she said.

She has been filling a part-time position as a math teacher at the school. When athletics director Steve Luck and assistant Owen George showed up at her classroom proposing that she give coaching another try, she couldn’t turn them down.

“I never expected to do this again,” she said last week. “There’s a lot of work to be done on my end. Until three weeks ago, I would have never thought I would do this again. If I can come to help things and do some good, that’s what I want to do.”

She coached a season at Southwestern Randolph (her alma mater) and later figured she had retired from schools when she retired from her math position there in 2020.

“She will do a great job,” Luck said.

Her first season with Asheboro came in 1988. Then she was away from the Blue Comets for about a decade before returning in 2008 for four more seasons. Along the way, she coached at Trinity and spent the 2013 season directing the Uwharrie Charter Academy team. There were also a few years with South Asheboro Middle School.

Under Black, the Blue Comets reached regional finals in five consecutive years in the 1990s, advancing to state finals in 1993-95.

Now-former coach Karen Blanchard directed the Blue Comets for eight seasons. Last season, Asheboro went 5-16, including a 2-8 mark in the Mid-Piedmont Conference. The Blue Comets were swept in 12 of their defeats.

That snapped a streak of at least eight consecutive winning seasons, with several records of 20-plus wins during that stretch.

The 2021 team had two seniors. Black said she’s not familiar with the players who’ll make up the roster, other than one girl who had been in one of her math classes.

Sixty girls showed up at a meeting last week.

“I’ll probably do a lot of the same things (as in the past),” Black said. “Heart and soul, that’s really what you win with.”

Black said her interest was mostly basketball as a youth. Eventually that changed, but she had to come to a better understanding of the sport.

“The girls (on early teams) were really interested and we started going to camps and we started learning together,” she said. “Volleyball won my heart over.”

So even though Black figured she wouldn’t return to the court, she’s bound to be excited to be back.

“I love it,” she said. “It really broke my heart when I walked away from it. I think about it a lot.”

By Bob Sutton