FORT VALLEY -- Longtime Peach County boys basketball head coach Rickey Wray announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down from his position as leader of the program at the end of the season after more than two decades in charge.
“I told (athletics director Chad) Campbell this year that I had never felt like I did this year,” Wray said. “I felt like it was the best time.”
A native of Louisiana, Wray arrived in Georgia 27 years ago when he was told of an opening at Monticello. After two seasons there, he was offered and accepted a job at Peach County.
Wray has been coaching football there ever since, and he took over the basketball program four years after his arrival.
“I’ve been very fortunate because Peach has always been blessed with athletes, and they can both play football and basketball, which you don’t get in most situations,” Wray said. “We’d play at least 12 games in football every year, and then you had to walk off of the football field and go right on to the basketball court. That was a huge challenge.”
This year’s Trojans team is already one of his best. Peach County is 22-5 this season and has aspirations for a lengthy run in the GHSA Class AAA playoffs. The Trojans travel to Tattnall County on Wednesday.
“We feel like we have an opportunity to play deep into the state tournament,” Wray said. “Even (Monday) they came in with that same fire that, ‘Coach, we can get this done. If you just do your part, we’re going to do our part.’ ”
Wray will not be leaving Peach County entirely. He will remain in his position as running backs coach for the football program.
The decision to step away from the game of basketball was a tough one for Wray.
A former college basketball player, his goal in the coaching profession was to always lead a basketball program.
“The dream was basketball, and I’m walking away from something that God gave me a gift to do,” Wray said. “When God gives you something, you just put your all in it.”