Corey Wiley is back in the saddle.
The only varsity boys basketball coach in Jefferson history with a .500 record or above has been named the head coach of the Bears for the second time.
“I’m back and excited and ready to go,” Wiley said. “I’m here because I want to be here. I want to bring consistency and loyalty to the program and build something.”
Wiley coached Jefferson to back-to-back winning seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08 and went 32-32 in his three years. He was the JV head coach for seven years before that and coached the Bear JV girls for a couple of seasons.
Jefferson has had five coaches since Wiley left in 2009 for a job opportunity in Alabama. He said building a culture around the basketball program where student athletes want to stay is his priority.
“We have to grow the numbers, especially at our Junior Bears level,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, we had 90 boys playing. We must get the kids excited about being here and staying here and not transferring away.”
He returned to Monroe area about a year ago and became the Bears JV boy’s coach. The Bears finished above .500.
“A lot of nights we played with just six kids,” he said. “Those kids didn’t win a game in seventh, eighth or ninth grade. I told them at a meeting before the season that the only thing I could tell them was they were going to play hard. For not winning a game for three years, we had a pretty good season.”
Wiley is happy to be back in the area. He did coach at various places while in Alabama, including AAU basketball. Between all his years coaching he figures he’s been on the sidelines for about 700 games. He also was a basketball official for a few years.
“My wife and I decided to come back,” he said. “It was time. There are some different dynamics now than 12 years ago. We made the decision we wanted to be close to family.”
Wiley is from Monroe. He moved to Virginia while in junior high school. When he was a freshman at Indian River High School, one of the seniors on the varsity was future Georgetown and NBA star Alonzo Mourning.
He moved back to Monroe as a senior and played for Ernie Sellers. He was coaching at Jefferson by his early-20s.
In 2006-07, Wiley was named the Monroe County Region Coach of the Year after the Bears had their first winning season in 14 years. Those Bears beat 20-1 Grosse Ile in the District for one of the biggest wins in school history.
“We won some big games back then,” Wiley said.
W replaces Steve Walters who took over the program midway through the 2019-20 season. The Bears set a school record for wins last year with 14.
Walters left Jefferson for a job in another school district.
Jefferson athletic director Alyssa Eppler was delighted to get Wiley back.
"Corey did a great job at the JV level last year for us," she said. "He stepped in like he hadn't even left. I am excited to have him as the head of our program again. He brings pride and tradition and knows how to relate to the student-athletes."
Wiley is currently finalizing his staff, several of which include former Jefferson players and graduates.
“We have ownership of this program,” he said. “The seniors last year left a wonderful legacy. We have a lot to do.”
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: Corey Wiley returns to Jefferson to coach boys basketball team