You’ll find plenty of folks unhappy that the Virginia High School League is realigning its conferences only two years after the historic realignment that obliterated 43 years of tradition. Donovan Bridgeforth is not among the naysayers.
When he took a look at the competition Jamestown High will face upon its move to from Conference 19 to Conference 18 in the fall, it increased his interest in applying for the school’s boys basketball vacancy. On Wednesday, Jamestown announced Bridgeforth as its new coach.
“I was really attracted to how competitive that conference will be in basketball,” Bridgeforth said in listing fellow members Denbigh, Grafton, Heritage, Lafayette and Smithfield. “I was also gravitated to the new athletic director, Kenny Edwards, wanting to use sports to uplift the school, the community, the players and the coaches.”
That’s sort of what Bridgeforth, 27, does already. He founded an organization,
DreamChasers, to mentor and train disadvantaged youth in the Williamsburg area. DreamChasers will partner with James City County police Sunday in the first Stop The Violence Basketball Tournament at the James City County Recreation Center.
“I think it shows families that I care about their sons and daughters on and off the court,” Bridgeforth said of his work with DreamChasers. “It’s never just about basketball, but also about the bigger picture.”
He’s done fine on the court, too. A former point guard at Division III Albright College in Pennsylvania, Bridgeforth has experienced plenty of success as a high school girls coach and with the Team Loaded boys club squad.
Bridgeforth says his associations with Team Loaded include Division I prospect Xavier Green of Williamsburg Christian Academy, 2015 national top-20 post prospect Thon Maker (who has an offer from Kentucky) and 2016 national top-10 point-guard prospect Dennis Smith Jr.
His three years as an area high school girls coach began with a 15-7 season and state tournament berth in 2012-13 at Walsingham Academy. The past two seasons, he’s guided Williamsburg Christian’s girls to a 61-7 mark and independent schools Division III runner-up finishes.
Bridgeforth succeeds Geoff McCulloch, who guided Jamestown to a better-than-expected 10-12 record last season. McCulloch resigned to become the head coach at Warhill, one of Jamestown’s Bay Rivers District rivals.
Bridgeforth should inherit many of McCulloch’s key players. The Eagles worked hard and often shot well from the outside, but were not formidable in the post.
“When I was coaching girls, it wasn’t on my mind to move to coaching (high school) boys, but I feel blessed for the opportunity,” said Bridgeforth, who will work at Jamestown as a special education aide.
O’Brien can be reached by phone at 757-247-4963.
DreamChasers Stop The Violence Basketball Tournament
What: Basketball tournament featuring local talent to promote ending violence in the area.
When: Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Where: James City Recreation Center, 5301 Longhill Rd., Williamsburg.