Pender Head Girls Basketball Coach Larry Ballinger has stepped down after 7 seasons at the school. Ballinger says he stepped down to make more time for family. “No it was a really tough decision. It really came down to watching my daughters play. I didn’t know if my youngest one was going to go on to play someplace. And I really wanted to catch Paige in her senior year at Wayne State. To make the travels and enjoy the games and watch her play.”
His other daughter, Hallie, will be a freshman at WSC next year, but will not play basketball for the Wildcats.
Ballinger says he has a lot of memories coaching his daughters at Pender. “Oh yeah I mean we’ve had a lot of good memories, we’ve had some bad memories. I mean we’ve been through so many highs and lows, but it’s always been together. And so to be a coach and a father, to be a part of the things that go on in the locker room just with basketball, away from basketball, and just seeing your children interact with other players and things like that. I mean yeah I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I got to be a part of their lives everyday during the winter season.”
Ballinger says he created a special bond with all his players over the years. “Yeah I mean I still keep in touch with 99% of them. They are a special group of young ladies that have affected my life hopefully as much as I’ve affected theirs. So they made me grow as a person as well. I mean I can’t thank them enough.”
Ballinger says he was blessed with some very good players who bought into the program.
Ballinger will be succeeded by Luke Hoffman. “Couldn’t be more pleased about anybody taking over the program as Luke. He brings a lot to the table. He’s energetic, he is a competitor himself, and he’s going to work hard, and he’s going to expect his players to work hard. And he’ll do everything he can to put the ladies in the best position possible to be successful.”
Ballinger led the Pendragons to 5 state tournaments in his 7 years, winning the 2013 Class D-1 State Championship.