NORTH LAUREL — Players, alumni and community members had the opportunity to meet North Laurel High School’s newest head coach on Tuesday night during a meet and greet event.
Last week, Nate Valentine was named the eighth head coach of the North Laurel boys basketball team in program history.
Valentine, a London native, has been the head boy's basketball coach and assistant athletic director at Lexington Christian Academy since 2014. His career record over his five seasons there was 110-51, and he has had seven players sign to play college basketball with three of those being NCAA Division I schools.
On Tuesday, Valentine along with his wife, Carrie, his son, Nate and his daughter, Cate, spent the evening getting to know the players, their parents and Jaguar fans in the North Laurel High School auditorium, where the Valentines were welcomed into the Jaguar family with open arms.
“It’s a big time for North Laurel basketball and North Laurel High School in general,” said North Laurel Athletic Director Jimmy Durham. “Throughout this process, we wanted to do our best due diligence in finding the best candidate and quality person because this job didn’t deserve just a good hire, this job deserved a great hire and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve hired a great basketball coach in Nate Valentine.”
“We wanted someone who shared our commitment not only to our basketball program but developing student-athletes for success beyond high school,” North Laurel High School Principal Mike Black said. “We were looking for a coach that understood that and embraced that concept and had a vision for molding our young men up into not only great basketball players but into quality young men. We also looked for someone who could establish relationships and communicate with our stakeholders, our faculty and staff, our student-athletes, our parents, our alumni and we found that person in Coach Nate Valentine.”
Valentine said that during the interview process, one of the first questions he was asked by Black was, “why North Laurel?”
“You’ve got a great winning culture in this place,” Valentine said. “This isn’t a rebuild job, this is taking a program that’s in a great spot and taking it to the next level and that’s what we want to do here.”
Valentine also noted the “great fanbase” and talent surrounding the North Laurel boys basketball program, which is what Valentine said drew him to North Laurel.
“Mr. Black said he wanted this to be one of the best jobs in the region and I want to make this the best basketball jobs in the state of Kentucky,” Valentine said. “That’s why I came here. … We want to be those teams that are competing for state titles and regional titles every year. I think we can definitely make this one of the best basketball jobs in the state of Kentucky.”
Valentine has hopes to not only grow his new Jaguar team into better players but also into better people who are prepared for life beyond high school.
“I firmly believe God put me here for a reason,” Valentine said. “It was very difficult for me to leave Lexington Christian Academy but I firmly believe that I’m here for a reason and I can’t wait to get started.”