For the first time since 2001, North Surry High School’s athletic programs will be under new management come fall.
Shane Slate, who has held the Greyhounds’ Athletic Director position for the past 16 years, announced Friday that he would not be continuing in that role for the upcoming 2017-18 school year. Chris Butler, who coached the North Surry boys’ basketball team from 2003-2010, has been named as the school’s new AD.
Although it wasn’t announced until Friday, Slate had informed North Surry administrators of his intent to resign from the AD position back in April.
“When we were preparing for the regional finals and state championship, I was having to wrap up winter sports and get ready for spring sports all at the same time,” Slate said, referring to when the girls’ basketball team reached the 2A state championship game last March. “The AD position is very demanding of a person’s time, especially when they’re coaching two varsity sports and teaching two classes. It makes it really hard to enjoy coaching.”
The good news is that Slate is only giving up his role as Athletic Director. The longtime head coach of North Surry’s volleyball and girls’ basketball teams, whose squads have won eight straight Western Piedmont Athletic Conference titles in the former and four in a row in the latter, plans to remain as head coach of both indefinitely.
“I have no plans to step down as coach,” said Slate, whose teams won the 2009 and 2012 state titles in volleyball and were state runners-up in basketball in 2017. “I enjoy coaching, but being the AD is not really as fun as coaching. It’s a hard job.”
His replacement, Butler, is accustomed to stepping into big shoes. He assumed the reins of North Surry’s boys basketball team on an interim basis a week before the season began in November of 2003, earned the full-time gig, and coached the Hounds for seven seasons. He resigned in April of 2010 after posting a 117-72 record in seven seasons, including two trips to the regionals.
At the time he stepped down, Butler’s two children were ages 5 and 9, and he cited a desire to spend more time with his family, saying he would continue in an assistant’s role, but couldn’t handle the time constraints of being the head coach.
In Slate’s final season as AD, North Surry’s athletic program finished 15th in the state’s 2A Wells Fargo Cup standings. However, the Greyhounds also claimed the Crown Athletic Excellence Cup, emblematic of the top athletic program in the Surry County School System. One of Slate’s final acts as AD was to collect the award back in May.