CONYERS — Sanders Dorough’s stint at Salem was short-lived, but for good reason.
Spending the 2018-19 school year as both an assistant boys basketball coach and head boys soccer coach for the Seminoles, Dorough is headed south after accepting a head boys basketball coaching vacancy left at Worth County.
Dorough became privy to the opening thanks to a trip to Kyle Sandy’s popular high school basketball website, where he shared the vacancy on his “Coaching Carousel” list.
“After I saw the opening, I very quickly applied for the job Wednesday on that week,” Dorough said. “I got a phone call from the Athletic Director, Frankie Carroll two days later on Friday and it worked out perfectly because I was already in the area and was able to interview that same day. I got a call from the new incoming principal, Scott Kersh and accepted the job when he offered it to me.”
A native of South Georgia, Dorough said the proximity of the school played a key role in his decision to leave Salem for Worth County.
“Worth County is about 30 minutes from where my parents live in Albany, Georgia,” Dorough said. “It also is about 30 minutes to where my grandfather lives in Cordele, Georgia. The location and the chance to be close to my family was definitely a huge draw for me in taking this job as well as being able to build my own program close to where I grew up.”
The move will mark Dorough’s first head coaching job for a varsity basketball program in the state of Georgia, something he expressed deeply in his interview.
“I sold myself as someone who was familiar with the area, a young coach ready for his first shot and eager to prove myself as a head coach,” Dorough said. “I also let them know that this was somewhere that I definitely wanted to be and that I could offer them some consistency.”
Dorough will mark the Rams’ fourth different head coach in as many years. The first-year coach will succeed Anthony Webb, Tremaine Facison and Roney Mays. The last coach to spend more than two seasons at Worth County was Arthur Davis, who coached the Rams for six seasons from 2009-15.
The 29-year-old spent this past season serving as one of Jarrod Davis’s assistants at Salem. The veteran coach’s wealth of knowledge and expertise was a main reason why Dorough found himself in Seminoles colors.
” I did my research before the interview and saw that he had a lot of success since he had come to Salem,” Dorough said. “I let him know when I interviewed there that I wanted to be a head coach very soon, and he let me know that he would help me get there.”
Dorough was given the keys to the freshman team at Salem and was on the bench during varsity games.
“It was really great to work under Coach Davis because he gave me a lot of freedom in working with my freshman team,” Dorough said. “He would always give advice or words of wisdom when I was struggling with not getting the results I wanted.”
In the end, Dorough thanked Davis for teaching him valuable aspects of how to be a successful high school basketball coach.
“I learned how to manage a program from top to bottom from Coach Davis, but I think the most important thing that I learned from Coach Davis was patience,” Dorough said. “I think being younger and especially working with the freshman team that you put so much into them so you have very high expectations. But just like everything else in life, it is a process and sometimes it doesn’t click for players until much later in their high school career.”
Dorough tabbed the relationships he was able to build, both on the basketball court and on the soccer field as his best memories coaching at Salem.
“I really feel like I grew up a lot as a teacher and a coach this past year,” Dorough said. “Ms. Tonya Bloodworth and the administration did a great job in making Salem feel like family and the support that I got from them was outstanding.”
On top of his head coaching duties at Worth County, Dorough has also been named the Rams’ head girls soccer coach. Dorough inherited a one-win Salem squad in 2019 and turned them into a five-win program.
“I think after having some time to reflect on the soccer season, I am super proud of how everything ended,” Dorough said. “There was a couple of games that I had hoped and I felt like we should have won, but we really played one of the toughest schedules that I have ever had as a coach.”
It was great to be able to take the program from a one-win season to five wins and a tie, and I think the seniors can really feel good about themselves because they are leaving with the program taking steps in the right direction. There is a good young core on the team and I really hope that they will come back next year and build on the success that we had this past season.”
Dorough will inheret a girls soccer program at Worth County that finished 7-9-2 and advanced to the Class AAA state playoffs.
“I am very excited to be coaching the girls team there,” Dorough said. “They have a very good young core of girls on the team from what I have seen and they had a pretty good season this last year. I really think that soccer is a close second to basketball to me, so I am excited to be able to have the opportunity to continue coaching soccer.”
Already holding the keys to the program, Dorough said that all he can think about is getting to work and starting his new career as a head basketball coach.
“I am super excited,” Dorough said. “I couldn’t sleep the night before the first summer practice. I would compare it to the same excitement that a kid has on Christmas Eve the night before Christmas morning. I told Coach Davis that one of my major goals was to become a head coach in basketball at the high school level before I was 30, so I was just able to do that.”
It definitely is something that I have dreamed of since I began my coaching career at LaGrange Academy. I finally have the keys to my own program and I am excited to see where and how far the team can go this year.”
Prior to Salem, Dorough spent three years as an assistant basketball coach at Kendrick High School in Columbus. His playing career featured a stop of Warren Wilson college in North Carolina, where he played both basketball and soccer for two years.