Randleman keeps it close to home with new girls’ coach

Steven Rightmyer was named coach of the Randleman girls’ basketball team. (PJ Ward-Brown/Randolph Record)

RANDLEMAN – The next step in Steven Rightmyer’s coaching ventures takes him to something different, but he’s also familiar with much of what’s involved in Randleman’s girls’ basketball program.

He was named the next coach of the Tigers, who’ve been a power the past few years.

“I always wanted to be a varsity coach,” Rightmyer said. “It’s a chance to step outside and try a new challenge.”

That’s because Rightmyer has mostly been involved in coaching boys’ sports. He moves from his role as boys’ basketball coach at Randleman Middle School, though he’ll remain there as a physical education and health teacher.

He takes over for Brandon Varner, who stepped aside after five seasons and a 103-20 record. Varner is athletics director at the middle school, so he’s well-connected with Rightmyer.

“Change is always a little bit different, but we’re still excited about the change,” Randleman principal Dennis Hamilton said.

This marks the first varsity coaching assignment for Rightmyer, 35. He has coached a variety of sports, including junior varsity boys’ basketball for the Tigers. At the middle school, he also has been a head coach and assistant coach for the football team.

“He’s a tireless worker,” Randleman athletics director Jake Smith said. “We have no doubt that through his leadership that Randleman girls’ basketball will continue to produce a quality product.”

Rightmyer said he’s fortunate because openings with such a strong program might not come along often.

Because of his teaching role, Rightmyer is familiar with the players who’ll make up the girls’ team. His nine years overall in Randleman gives him a good feel for the community, he said.

“I’ve coached a lot of their older brothers,” he said. “It’s not like moving to a new school. It definitely helps.”

Randleman’s girls went 25-1 in 2021-22 and 27-2 during this past season, mostly dominating the Piedmont Athletic Conference.

“There was a lot of talent, especially with that senior group,” Rightmyer said. “We’ve got a good group that’s still going to be here.”

Rightmyer, who’s from Livonia, N.Y., served as a student assistant coach for three years for the Methodist University’s men’s team. He also helped with the boys’ basketball team at Pine Forest in Fayetteville while student teaching. He was at Southeastern Randolph Middle School for three years before shifting to Randleman.

By Bob Sutton