After pouring a significant part of his life into Central High School the past 29 years, Rick Rogers is glad to know the transition for its boys' basketball program is in good hands.
Kantonio Davis will try to build on the Purple Pounders' tradition after leading St. Luke's Episcopal in Mobile to Alabama Class 2A runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2018.
"I don't think Central could have found a better fit for the position," Rogers said Friday. "Coach Davis understands the process of becoming a basketball player and how to build a winning formula. Our team started the rebuild phase this past year, and I want our kids to continue and push to do their best."
Inheriting a roster with speed as its strength, Davis coaches a defensive-minded style of play that he believes will make good use of that.
The former University of Montevallo player began the St. Luke's basketball program in 2009. The Wildcats compiled a 120-68 record from 2013 to 2018 once the school reached its full size.
"I have been blessed to have great teams and coaching staffs along with supportive parents and administration," the 40-year-old Davis said. "Coach Rogers has been the coach at Central for a long time. I am honored to take over a program that has been so well taken care of."
Rogers compiled a 181-104 (.635) in 13 seasons as Central's boys' head coach. He also spent 13 years as a boys' basketball assistant and led the Lady Purple Pounders for four seasons.
Rogers credits former Central coach Bill Nelms and local greats such as Brainerd's Robert High and Howard's Walter McGary for helping him build success.
The Harrison school made back-to-back trips to the Class AA state tournament in 2015 and 2016. The Purple Pounders went 42-12 during that span and took both the District 6 and Region 3 plaques in 2015.
"The greatest reward as a coach is to see kids work hard for you and then go on and be successful in life," said Rogers, who will retire May 24 after also teaching CDC classes for 29 years. "It's going to be an adjustment, but one that I am ready for."
Davis is excited for his opportunity to lead the Purple Pounders .
"If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail," Davis said. "I am ready to work and prepare our guys to be the best they can be. When you put in constant hard work, the results will come."