ELIZABETHTOWN — Ken Cross’ five-year run at East Bladen came to an end recently when he tendered his resignation as boys varsity basketball coach.
Cross’ time with the Eagles was preceded by 10 years as varsity boys basketball coach at West Bladen, where he led the Knights to a Class 2-A state championship in 2008.
But he could never quite find that kind of magic at East Bladen.
After an initial season with a 19-6 overall record and 8-3 in the conference for a third-place finish in 2011-12, Cross and the Eagles went 15-11 and 6-6 in 2012-13; 13-11 and 7-6 in 2013-14; 10-14 and 5-9 in 2014-15; then 6-17 and 3-11 in 2015-16. He decided in May to pull the plug and his resignation was accepted.
“It was time,” Cross said recently. “Things weren’t progressing and I wasn’t doing any good.”
Overall, Cross led the Eagles to a five-year record of 63-59 overall, 29-36 in the conference. His two losing seasons at East Bladen were just his second and third on 26 years of coaching in Bladen County — including 11 years at Tar Heel High.
“We agreed on mutual terms to go in different directions,” said East Bladen Athletics Director Patty Evers. Telephone calls to East Bladen Principal Jason Wray were not returned. Wray is currently in the process of interviewing and considering candidates to fill the basketball position left vacant by Cross.
As for Cross’ future, he said he’s not sure what comes next.
“I still want to coach and I think I still have a lot to offer,” he said recently. “I’ve looked around locally and even in other states, but nothing has materialized yet.
“Right now, I don’t know what I’ll be doing,” he added. “I’ll do a little traveling and watch the Yankees — as long as they don’t frustrate me.”
In his career, Cross has more than 650 coaching wins.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.