Former Charles Henderson Trojan lands at Pike County
Former Charles Henderson Middle School basketball head basketball coach Justin Cope is heading to Pike County High School.
Cope has been involved with Charles Henderson High and Middle since his school days, but made a personal and professional decision to take his career to Brundidge.
“I have mixed feelings,” Cope said. “It’s excitement and it’s sadness because you feel so attached to the kids at Charles Henderson. It was a great eight years. I told the students when I left that no matter where I go, I am always here for them.”
Cope will be teaching health at Pike County High School and he will also have a role in coaching football, basketball and baseball.
“I’m teaching and coaching now,” Cope said. “Coach Fred Holland and Doug Holland are great coaches and both establish discipline, strong work ethic and integrity, which are the same exact values I believe in. I have some opportunities down here in Brundidge. I am teaching health, coaching football, basketball and baseball. It’s more of an opportunity.”
It wasn’t an easy decision for Cope to make. It was a decision that took some time, but ultimately he knew what he had to do.
“It took the whole summer for me to make my mind up,” Cope said. “They contacted me back in May. I wanted to stay at Charles Henderson and coach those kids, but Pike County made me an offer that I couldn’t turn down.”
After investing so much into their lives, breaking the news to his players at CHMS wasn’t an easy process.
“When I broke the news to my players, seeing their emotions on their faces hurt,” Cope said. “I wanted to be upfront and tell them how I much I love them, including those on the varsity level.”
Whether at Charles Henderson or Pike County, Cope wanted to set his players up for success not only in athletics, but in life.
“(The players) taught me a lot. You start coaching them when they’re 9 years old all the way up through varsity,” Cope said. “You watch them go on to bigger and better things. I always tell them that it’s what you do afterwards: ‘The only thing I want you to do is be successful in life. Graduate from college and do the things you want to do, accomplish your dreams.’”
Cope learned the importance of his core values from his time coaching with Trojan coaches including Mike Dean, Carl Hollis, Shelby Tuck, Rodney Jordan, Sly Atkins, Tim Fayson, Adam Helms, Phillip Jones, Marcus Jones and William Mougel.
“I played under and coached under Hugh Fountain and learned so much from, not only him, but from other great coaches,” Cope said.
Although he is sad to leave the Trojans, Cope is equally excited about his new opportunity.
“I love it down here in Brundidge,” Cope said. “I love the people in Brundidge. It’s the same as in Troy – people want to see you succeed, people want to see the kids grow. It doesn’t matter where I am coaching – my mindset will never change and that’s to be the best teacher and coach that I can be.”