Schools reflect on Payne's legacy
Last modified: Nov. 1, 2012
In his more than three decades of service to Ashe and Watauga counties, Marc Payne has left a lasting impact on those around him.
Payne, who has coached the men's basketball team at Ashe County High School since the 2002 season, announced last week his retirement more than a month shy of the start of the upcoming season.
For some, the announcement came as no surprise. Payne suffered a heart attack this past spring, and although he was cleared to continue his passion in life his doctors urged him to change up his coaching style, he said.
Since his early days at Beaver Creek High School in the late 1970s and 1980s, Payne was known as a vocal and excited general from the bench. But, even he recently admitted he has “mellowed” in recent years.
In reflecting on his recent decision to step down and hand the reigns of the program over to assistant coach Scott Grubb, school administrators said he has left a positive impact on countless individuals at the high school and in the community.
“I have the upmost respect and admiration for Marc Payne,” said Ashe Schools Superintendent Travis Reeves. “He has been an outstanding basketball coach, but more importantly he has been an outstanding educator and leader in the school system for many, many years.
He will certainly be missed on the sidelines, but we will still have his influence in the high school as athletic director.”
Reeves was previously approached by Payne as he contemplated stepping down.
“I told him when we initially talked that we would respect his decision to remain or step aside based on his health and what is best for him and his family,” said Reeves. “He has been so loyal to the school system, the community and the basketball program.”
Ashe High Principal Jason Krider said he has known Payne his entire life and met the coaching legend while his father coached the girls' team at Beaver Creek High School.
“I've know him as long as I've been able to walk,” said Krider.
He added he was “sad to see him go” and it was “a sad day for Ashe County basketball when Marc Payne decided he isn't coaching.
In addition to numerous conference championships and state tournament appearances, including a 1978 third place finish at Beaver Creek, Payne also led Ashe to three Mountain Valley Conference championships.
“As long as I can remember, Ashe County basketball has been associated with Payne,” said Krider.
With Payne's departure, Ashe County will now look forward to the beginning of a new era with Grubb leading the program.
Many within the school system have known Payne to act as a mentor to the younger Grubb.
“We have a good person in Scott (Grubb) to take that position and lead the program,” said Reeves. “He has been with the high school for 15 years and we feel very confident in him.”