When Daniel Strong came on board as a new member of the Fuquay-Varina High School faculty a month and a half ago to work with students that have special needs, he never expected to take on one of the school’s legacies.
Two weeks ago, Strong was named the new head basketball coach for the Bengals.
“It just so happened that they had a position open,” Strong said.
But it could be an uphill battle. Strong said the Bengals have had a losing streak that he plans to change for the better.
“We have to change the mentality,” he said. “I’m big on challenges.”
Strong has to rebuild the team and get his players to buy into new thinking that winning is not just the goal, but it is possible with hard work and knowledge of the fundamentals.
“I feel that it’s possible to do that here,” Strong said.
If anyone would know the fundamentals, he would. Strong moved back to the states last summer after playing professional basketball in Europe for 15 years. Since he has been back, he has worked on camps for I9 teams and FVAA youth. He also became an assistant coach for Southeast Raleigh High School’s basketball team.
In his last few years of professional ball in countries like Spain and France, Strong went to a player-coach position.
“We’re all the same,” he said. “We’re all competitive.”
And that’s what Strong loves most about the game – the competitive edge.
He loves competing and will bring that vigor to the court.
Along with that competitive nature, he brings a love of helping youth. He created the Strong Center for Excellence several months ago. His foundation helps students succeed.
During his time in Europe, Strong spent summers in the states. He had the opportunity to interact with youth in North Carolina, South Carolina and New Jersey, and he saw a great need.
“I just think we need to start doing more for youth as far as outreach,” he said. “I feel like I need to do more.”
Strong’s family is still in Europe. His wife has played professional basketball there for 16 years and his daughter currently is attending school there.
But one thing is for sure; the upcoming season of Bengal basketball is bound to look and feel different.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Strong said.
Contact Kelly Griffith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-552-5675.