GREENSBORO — Haley Hackett knew the opportunity to become a head coach would come. She just didn’t know it would come now and at a rival school and one of the state’s top girls basketball programs.
Hackett, whose entire high school coaching career has been at Northern Guilford, is the new head coach at Northwest Guilford.
“I’m really excited to get going and start with them right away,” Hackett said Saturday.
A former Southeast Guilford and Appalachian State standout, Hackett succeeds Mike Everett, who became athletics director at Northwest this month. Everett had been promoted from assistant to head coach when Darlene Joyner retired in April.
Joyner’s basketball teams went 362-109 and won the 2017 and 2018 NCHSAA Class 4-A championships.
While Hackett was an assistant to coach Kim Furlough at Northern, the Nighthawks won the Class 3-A titles in 2017 and 2018.
“Our success with Northern and Northwest aligning doesn’t happen by not having teams that are well-disciplined, that have a great work ethic and put in the time and the focus,” Hackett said. “It’s those intangibles that make a great team, and I hope to continue all those things at Northwest. I’m just trying to build off Coach Joyner’s legacy.”
Everett, who was an assistant to Joyner for the past three seasons, said in a news release: “It became evident as we went through the hiring process that Haley was a person that we felt confident could lead our program and continue the great success and tradition that has become expected of Northwest Guilford girls basketball.”
Northern has built a successful tradition of its own under Furlough. Hackett was a part of that program as an assistant coach for seven years.
“I’ve known Kim since I was 12 years old and she’s been a mentor to me for that long,” Hackett said of the Northern head coach. “I’m thankful for the opportunity she gave me to have a lot of stake in the program. I had a lot of freedom that most assistant coaches don’t get to have. She has always challenged me and is always teaching, and I’ve always been a sponge to her. She’s the reason I feel so prepared to take on this challenge.”
Furlough said she believes Hackett is ready.
“I’ve been privileged to be a part of her life as her high school basketball coach and I followed her years as a player at Appalachian State,” said Furlough, who also played for the Mountaineers. “I appreciate her contributions over the years as one of my assistant coaches, and I am expecting phenomenal results from her in the next phase of her coaching career.”
Hackett, who also coached with Delaney Rudd in the Lady Phoenix Elite program, said the biggest thing Furlough taught her is that the job is more than just X’s and O’s.
“There’s so much outside the game itself that goes into being a head coach,” Hackett said. “Through watching her I learned how important the relationships are with your girls, with the parents and within the community.”
She’ll start building those relationships when she meets the Vikings players Monday.
“I push my girls to work hard and I have very high expectations for them,” she said. “I’m in a good position because these girls already have high expectations from the coaches who preceded me.”
In addition to coaching, Hackett, 29, has been working in the family business as a licensed general contractor with Hackett Construction Inc. Her father, Joey, is the president of the company and was a tight end at Elon and in the NFL. Her uncle Dino is a former Appalachian State and NFL linebacker and special-teams standout.
“Through working with Kim and the girls at Northern I realized early on how much I loved this and had a passion for it,” Hackett said. “All along the goal for me was to one day have my own program. … I didn’t know when the right time would come, when the right fit would present itself. I didn’t know that it would happen this quickly.”