Josh Cowart, who was Excel’s coach from 2005-2009, was hired by the school Friday and will take over the coaching duties next winter from athletic director Chad Parker, who served as the interim coach last season.
“He’s the most successful coach in Excel history. He took them to a Sweet 16 and had a very successful run his first time up,” Parker said. “After I coached the team, and I got a heart for these kids, I wanted to make sure that we got somebody who had a heart for them and a heart for the school, someone who had the passion that these kids deserve. We were looking for someone who can grow kids with the fundamentals of basketball, but most importantly, someone who can grow these kids as young men. Josh, more than anybody I’ve ever known, has those attributes.”
In the 2013-14 season, David Boyd resigned after nine games with the program. Parker then took over and went 7-9 the rest of the way as the Eagles finished with a 9-16 record.
In his first stint as head coach, Cowart’s team was the region runner-up and advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2007-08 . His record in his four years at Excel was 33-65, but improved progressively from a 2-15 season his first year.
Cowart left to coach the Trion girls basketball team from 2009-2014. During that time, his teams reached the second round of the state playoffs twice.
Parker said Cowart and the school parted on good terms and Excel is glad to have him back.
“It was not a bad breakup at all. It was just [Cowart] had a better situation that would help his family,” Parker said. “Recently, they moved their kids back to Excel. His wife started back this year teaching kids at the elementary school and both his kids go to Excel, so he was ready for his family to come back. He was interested from the start of the process.”
According to Parker, Excel had a long list of qualified candidates who applied but felt Cowart was the best coach for the position.
“We had a really lengthy process of interviews. We interviewed a lot of people, took a bunch of phone calls,” Parker said. “We narrowed it down to three guys. We had some very strong candidates, but when we narrowed it down, Josh was everything we wanted in a person. He has the knowledge, the work ethic and the integrity we need as a coach.”