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FIRST ON 3: Ken Cross leaving West Bladen for East Bladen


BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- West Bladen basketball coach Ken Cross has resigned in order to accept the vacant head coaching position at rival East Bladen High School, pending approval from the Bladen County School Board. (UPDATE 9:00 p.m.)....The Bladen County School Board approved the move Monday night.

Cross will replace Alton Hill at East Bladen High School. Hill resigned as the Eagles head coach two months ago after just one season at East Bladen.

Cross began his coaching career at St.Luke's in New Jersey in 1968. Seven schools later he moved to North Carolina in 1990 after accepting the head basketball coach position at Tar Heel High School in Bladen County. Tar Heel and Bladenboro High consolidated in 2001 to form West Bladen High School.

Cross was named the West Bladen coach in 2001. His 2007-2008 West Bladen team won the 2-A state basketball championship. Over the last four years West Bladen had a record of 101-13. This past the Knights finished with a 23-4 mark.

Patty Evers is the East Bladen director of athletics. She worked with Cross at Tar Heel High School when Cross was the boys coach and Evers was the girls basketball coach.

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Apparently keys are taken as

Apparently keys are taken as a standard operating procedure at the end of the school year during close out for inventory and accountability purposes. Everyone not in season has to turn in their keys in May, according to one of the OE members. Don't believe the hype by a writer who hangs out with the coach on weekends. That is biased at best. That said, why would a principal who is known for his focus on the testing process create a distraction so close to the testing week? The answer is he would not. There was no intent to fire the coach, based on what I have been told. According to the head coach of another sport, all teachers and coaches were told that there would be no after school events unless the sport was in season for the purpose of encouraging students to attend tutoring and study sessions. This is great because my student athlete actually goes to tutoring now. This school jumped up about twenty points in six months, so what he does works. So, to answer your question about what kind of a man this is? He is a man who has been the only principal to see this school to a competitive academic year....ever. You worship Ken Cross because he wins basketball games. This man is a former Special Ops combat vet, a brilliant educator, and my daughter even has him for a teacher during the school day. What has Cross done besides coach basketball? And did you see that early in his career, he worked at seven schools in nine years? Not the first time he flew the coop. If a principal wants keys, he should get the darned keys! He is the principal. Cross was the coach. In my opinion, peole need to know their roles or go home. By the way, did you know that this school had a shooting at it last year? What did Cross do about that? Nothing. He didn't apply to be the principal. So let him go to East Bladen. And if you have a problem with the principal, go and see him yourself. You will agree with me if you do. I know both men. I choose Fin over any coach, any day. At least while I have a kid in that school.

Maybe Mr. Finn took the keys

Maybe Mr. Finn took the keys because a school reported that the men's basketball program at West was breaking NCHSAA rules and this had to be investigated, not because a "firing" was planned. And by the way, the AD that got moved to another school years before, tried to work with Coach Cross, he just did not want to go by the rules of the program then, either. She paid the cost for him that time, just as Mr. Finn seems to be now.

If he was going to be fired

If he was going to be fired at the May 16 meeting, then the reason should still be investigated thoroughly; regardless of where he is working now.

By the way, he quit. He quit his players, his fellow coaches, the other teachers, the administration, the school, the cross crazies, HE QUIT. "Quiters never win and winners never quit".

The question still remains, why would a winner quit? Find out for us John, Mr. Robert, or the BOE.


How much do you want to bet the powers that be knew about this all along and let it happen hoping an investigation would just go away? That said, I bet they never even give it a second look. They do need to look at the up and coming recruiting of all of Crosses players from West. If and when that happens, watch the NCHSAA swoop in and do what they do. Smething tells me that Cross and his flunky have no intention of coaching their new kids, but they probably want their West kids in East uniforms. East parents should be happy about that. Their kids lose out. What a shame. One coach who plays by his own rules causing so much turmoil. Shouldn't the BOE have seen this coming?

Good luch to coach Cross!!!

Good luch to coach Cross!!! thank you Bladen County Board of Education for all that you do. For those who hates living in Bladen County please move.
btw. don't take facebook so seriously!!!


the coach dont make them team the players do, coach johnson made the players west bladens got today

Not necessarily a bad thing

I've known Ken Cross for quite some time. I think he's a great guy. I wish him the best whether at WBHS or EBHS. I don't, however, agree with his coaching style. Ken Cross has been blessed with talent over his career. Most teams he has coached were only taught one offense and one defense and practice consisted of only tossing the ball on the court and letting the kids play. Anyone with a solid basketball metality knows that there is much more to be taught in the game of basketball. I think both West Bladen and East Bladen can benefit from the transfer of Coach Cross. I hope Coach Cross's teams continue to succeed at East Bladen High School.

The thing that always

The thing that always impressed me the most about Coach Cross was his ability to lay flat of his back and do snow angels at the edge of the court. Showed real class and real leadership.

Would advise him to watch out doing those snow angels over at East because they have a "mean step team over there". Be sure and keep yourself and your players off the court when they are stepping. "Their boots are made for stepping and they'll step all over you and your players". Some of their step routines are wicked and I do mean wicked.

Coach Cross will surely be

Coach Cross will surely be missed. He is a great coach but these students need our support now and we need to give them the courage to move forward with whatever comes their way. West Bladen will overcome this and our students deserve all the support we can give them. The program will not crumble. It will just take on a new direction.

I believe that Coach Cross

I believe that Coach Cross was a great coach but i agree 100% with what you have said. Our students and children need our support. My son played for Coach Cross and adored him but I think the one thing everyone needs to remember is that the kids are the ones that are actually playing the games. Are we really going to say that these kids are any less talented just because their coach is now coaching their rivals. This absolutely blows my mind. How can you coach against a team and call them your rivals and have the outburst that you have at a game about the dance team of this rival school and then actually apply for and receive the head coaching position at that school. I know William will be just as loyal to Coach Cross as any other but I think West Bladen and the kids would benefit greatly if he would step up to be our Head Coach.

No one can deny what coach

No one can deny what coach Cross has accomplised at Tar Heel and West Bladen High Schools. If the step routine at a ballgame between West and East Bladen was his problem, I'm afraid he is in for a rude and vulgar awakening when the next season rolls around at East Bladen.

The bigger question in all this is who runs the two high schools in our county? It is my understanding, that Mr. Finn at West Bladen and Mr. Batchelor East at Bladen were hired for that job. Now, it would appear that "retired coaches" call the shots at our two high schools or at least they think they have gotten to such a lofty position that they think they do. Especially if they have a winning record and a few apperances in the state playoffs.

And where is the board of education when all this is going on? Don't they have to approve the hires that the principals bring before them? Did any of the board question what is going on here? Do coaches have more pull than any other teacher? What about all these young talented coaches coming up through the ranks that are chomping at the bits for head coaching jobs?

A career is a career!!!! Surely there are other things that "retired" coaches can do besides hang around and think they are going to be kneeled too by their principals. It has got to the point that high school athletics is almost like the Pros; God have mercy on our schools athletic programs as it approaches that point.

A far better way to approach this situation would have been for coach Cross to have made a committment to the incoming freshmen that he would be at West Bladen for the next four years to see them through their senior seasons and then have become "truly retired". Board of education, you don't think Coach Cross will be allowed to talk his players over at West to transfer to East, do you? Start doing your jobs instead of spending money in California.

Bladen County Schools

I will try to answer your questions,
Who runs the two high schools, who knows, we are on the 3rd or 4th superintendent this year, thank to the poor selection of our school board. They can't pick a good one and wouldn't know one if it hit them in the butt and I'm afraid the "newest" one won't be much better, all they really needed was a "yes" man who was brain dead and then they would fit right in with them.
Where is the board of education when all this is going all, who knows, maybe trying to find a "yes" man who is brain dead to be the next (4th or 5th) superintendent for the year, at least the ones still in North Carolina and not in California. Here is another fine example of what is wrong in Bladen County, the state is fixing to cut over a billion dollars out of education in the state and this board is asking for more money from the county but yet they (some of them) go to California at our expense to find out how to do their job, but maybe that was good thing since they haven't been doing so good at finding a super. Really, why would ANY of them need to go to a state such as California, and I won't go to my thoughts about that state at this time, to find out how to fix the problems we have here in Bladen County, if they don't know how to fix the problems here then we have the WRONG ones on the school board, and after the past year or so, that is a true statement as they don't hit on much and the 9 of them can't get along with each other like adults. They can't even agree on who should be the chairperson and yet we want them to run the school system, that would be like letting a bunch of monkeys run the zoo, hey maybe that's a true statement.
The best thing that can happen is for the state to lift the band on the number of charter schools and then we parents won't have to worry with the short coming of this group of monkeys any more.
I look forward to seeing the class of 2013, so I won't have to worry about my child being in this mess. I am sorry for the parents who have many years to go with "our" system. They, this board, and it's chairperson won't comment on anything. They have allowed our system to go down hill, we had a good superintendent when most of this board came, including Lewis, Lancaster, Cogdell etc and they made sure they ran him off because he had some good sense and look how it has gone downhill. And were does the chairperson live, his facebook page states Wilmington as his home, did we annex that?
Folks we need Denkins back along with Cross, Dickerson, Peterson and Singletary and send the monkeys home.

I have had Mr. Cross as a

I have had Mr. Cross as a coach, a teacher, and a friend for the past 15 years. He is BY FAR the greatest coach ever in NC and the country at that. These newcomers have something coming and they will find out soon. Goodbye WB athletics. I went to WB and I will now support EB with Coach Cross in front of them. You are the man Mr. Cross. I hope you win more championships than ever.

Your friend, Brett Druzak

And just where are you going

And just where are you going if Mr. Cross, God forbid, should pass away today? Or where are you going when he does "permanently" retire? Sure hope you don't become hypocritical and come back over to West Bladen. Especially when your grandchildren become Knights.

Knights, is there another State Championship over there this coming year? You have the nucleus of a great team coming back. Go Knights, beat Eagles. Time for a little "Knight ball".

Always show respect for your school and then your Alma Mater. Support Mr. Finn and what he is trying to build at West.

Remember, Knights sit at a round table, not at a rectangular one; where one person sits at the end and dictates to every one else. All the students sit at a round table; hence, no student is more
important than any other student. All faculty, sit at a round table; no one faculty member being better than another. The administrators all sit at a round table, no administrator is better than the other. Remember the Knight motto, "All for one and one for all".

Mr. Finn, by his actions has shown that he is improving West Bladen; Total education of students is the goal (not just athletic prowess); let's all put on our helmet "for knowledge" and take up our breastplate to protect our hearts as we march forward. Go marching Knights.

God bless each one of you students. If you haven't already, find yourself a house of God (local church) and become a Knight in shining armor for Jesus.

Coach Cross

Please let's remember that Coach Cross has cared about the students of Tar Heel and West Bladen since 1990. He deserved more respect for the program that had been built. He built a basketball dynasty that was shattered in a matter of a few months by new comers to our county. Coach Cross we love you and we appreciate everything that you did for the TH and WB programs. They will surely crumble now.

Cross has been retired for a

Cross has been retired for a while. He comes in after the kids go home. He has nothing to do with the day to day runnings of the school house. Doesn't teach. Doesn't work with kids all day. But he expects to be worshiped like a king. He doesn't even follow school rules, from what I have been told. So how will they crumble? Quite the contrary. With Cross, the school failed at academics and won only one championship in 10 years. We have no idea who they will bring in. So how can ypu say? How will they crumble? He was never there this year, and all of the sudden the school is doing much better. By the way, his stupid antics will not be missed. Maybe they will hire someone who doesn't act like a sideline idiot next year. Do people realize that for two years in a row he was completely out coached in the state playoffs, blowing huge leads and then telling his team he was retiring when he blew leads for them? Good luck East. This 80 year old man used to be a good coach, but the East athlete will demand more, and the East families will be up in arms by Christmas. Cross will never win 20 games again. Never. He has maybe 2 years left, and then East will be looking for yet another coach. This guy isn't a good luck charm or a leprechaun. They will be fine without him. Crumble? I would say that would be an East issue.

Those "newcomers" have made

Those "newcomers" have made West Bladen a safer school and has brought back the lost concept, that school is for teaching and providing an education that will last a lifetime. For too long, athletics (mainly boy programs) has taken precedence over education. Coach Cross is use to using Board Members to get his way and over stepping his boundaries, that's what happened to Ms. Beatty. The board did not support her if her decisions did not support Coach Cross. I have a child at WB and her education and safety is way more important to me than making sure Coach Cross is happy. I say accept the responsibility of what happened and move on. Leaving WB is like a slap in the face of the kids and parents that supported him all these years, but he is not the end of WB. If WB students want to be the best, they can be. As far as I am concerned that are champs!

And all the time I thought

And all the time I thought young people at West were crazy about the cross of Christ!

Coach Cross

West Bladen just lost one of the great ones!!

I totally respect all of the

I totally respect all of the accomplishments of Coach Cross, and all of the lives that he has made an impact on. I wish him luck as he takes on turning around the East Bladen basketball program.

I also would like to say that Mr. Finn made the right decision. Not a decision to get rid of Coach Cross, but a decision to finally make him suffer consequences for his actions. Most people do not know, but West Bladen had to report themselves for rules violations by Coach Cross this spring. Hence, the taking of the keys...John Clark wouldn't report that!!! He applied for the East Bladen and Gray's Creek jobs before West Bladen administration took Coach Cross's keys. A lot of people have made Mr. Finn out to be the bad guy in this situation. But he was only doing the job that he was hired to do. I would like to see them put this behind them, and continue doing a great job of educating children. I wish Mr. Finn and the staff at West Bladen all the best, and I know they will continue to be the best in Bladen county.