Rhett Bonner, a Yadkin County native who forged a standout career at Guilford College, will be the next coach of the West Stokes boys basketball program.
Bonner replaces longtime coach Dan Spainhour, who retired in March after a 38-year career that included two stints with the Wildcats. Athletics Director Travis Gammons said Bonner, previously the director of basketball operations at Rice the past four years, was selected last week to take over the program. He was officially hired after approval from Stokes County Schools during its virtual board of education meeting on Monday.
“Early on, it was apparent that his knowledge and his background in the game was exceptional,” Gammons said, after the Wildcats’ announcement of Bonner’s hiring Tuesday morning. “He’s a great communicator, a family guy, someone I think fits exactly what West Stokes is and I think he’ll fit right in.”
Bonner, who is from Yadkinville, initially played at Forbush before transferring to North Forsyth under coaches Mike Muse and Athletics Director Sean Vestal. Bonner finished his high school career with 1,692 points, averaging 19 points per game his senior season in 2005-06 and a selection to the Journal’s All-Northwest team.
Bonner went on to play at Guilford College from 2007 to 2010 after transferring from Presbyterian. Bonner, a guard, scored more than 1,000 points in a career that included two Division III Final Four appearances. Bonner then spent a year with the Washington Generals, competing against the Harlem Globetrotters in 22 countries.
He began his coaching career under Nathan Davis, now the head coach at Bucknell, during the 2011-12 season at Randolph-Macon, resulting in an NCAA Tournament Berth. Bonner then spent two years at Charlotte, overseeing its video program, before joining the staff at Virginia Wesleyan as an assistant.
Bonner helped the Marlins compile a 45-15 record — a share of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference title in 2015-16, and an Division III Final Four appearance the prior season — before his hiring at Rice.
He’ll be West Stokes’ third coach since the school opened in 1999. Spainhour, who was the boys program’s first coach and athletics director from 1998 to 2003, compiled a 480-252 record during his coaching career.
He rejoined the Wildcats in 2007, after serving on Leonard Hamilton’s staff at Florida State. Nick Frye filled that void while Spainhour was in Tallahassee. Spainhour capped his career last season, taking West Stokes to the fourth round of the NCHSAA Class 2-A playoffs.
Gammons said he thought Bonner’s background will help in the transition to high school. Gammons said Bonner will teach physical education as well.
“First thing I told Coach Bonner, early on after he was our choice … I told him I wanted to be the first Coach Bonner,” Gammons said. “I didn’t want him coming in, thinking he’s having to replace anybody or any of that. I wanted him to be him. He’s very comfortable in that.
“But our program has had a lot of success, and those roles aren’t always easy to fill for the next guy coming in.”