Prep Hoops: Ralls steps down as coach of Ledford girls
Months after winning his 700th career basketball game, Ledford girls’ basketball coach John Ralls is laying down his whistle.
An icon on the sideline for girls basketball in the Triad, Ralls has coached for 28 seasons, with the 2012-13 campaign officially being his last. It was a difficult decision for him, but one that had to be made due to health reasons.
“I thought about it and had to consider a lot of different things,” he said. “Just trying to get health back in order was the most important thing for me. I have some things going on and I need to have some surgeries in the next few months. It was just time for me to go.”
A respected coach in the area for many years, Ralls turned the Lady Panthers into a state powerhouse in the late 1990s. They scooped up the hardware almost every other year, winning titles in 1995, 1997, 2000 and 2002. This past season, LHS made another run at a state championship, coming up two games short of the title game. They finished the season 26-4 which included a Mid-Piedmont Conference regular season and tournament championship. Ralls recorded his 700th victory in a second-round playoff win over Berry Academy.
It was not long after the year concluded that Ralls decided to walk away. He wanted to leave the school as much time as possible to find a successor.
“My health was going to make it difficult for me to do that job the way it needed to be done,” said Ralls. “It is better for them that they get somebody in there that would have more energy and be able to do things the way they need to be done.”
With retirement just over the horizon, Ralls will return to teach at Ledford for one more year. He plans to continue his duties as golf coach, where he has a combined five state championships. The boys won three straight from 2005-07, while the girls have enjoyed more recent success claiming crowns in 2011 and 2012.
“I have one more year that I need to teach in order to get full retirement, so I plan on doing that and hopefully I can continue working with the golf team over the next year,” he said.
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.