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Graham passes the torch of women’s football to seven-year-old assistant coach Noe | Sports

MOREHEAD CITY — This off-season, the West Carteret women’s football program’s relay is naturally fading away.

After seven years as Matt Graham’s assistant, Corey Noe accepts his first head coaching position at the university.

“I’m excited about this,” Noe said. “I’ve been doing this for a while now and I have a pretty good idea of ​​the players we have and what the program should be and how it works. One of the nice things about Matt is that he constantly assigned responsibilities to me, gradually increasing my coaching load. I think he has been preparing me all this time.”

Graham went 61-43-13 overall and 36-20-7 in conference games in his seven years at the helm.

His first three years produced the best results, with the Patriots posting a 39-20-5 and 23-8-3 record in the league with the 3A Coastal Conference title in 2017 and a runner-up in 2018.

Last year, West posted an overall record of 8-5-7 and 3-3-4 in the league, finishing fourth in the six-team conference.

The team lost five players but regained key elements from a strong defensive unit that only scored 19 goals in 20 games.

“We have a solid band coming back,” Noe said. “We’ve released some phenomenal talent, but we have a good group from the JV program who worked with us twice last year. We will just close some gaps. We have a really strong back line and we’re bringing back quite a few players in the starting line-up, so we just have to figure out the details.”

Graham said he was retiring for both family and professional reasons.

“There are many reasons that led me to make this decision, because I really enjoy working with players and being a part of the community,” he said. “It’s a stressful job, it takes a lot of energy from you and your own family. After all, if I want to do what’s right for my family and the people who matter most to me, I have to make tough choices.”

His daughter Ella Graham was a freshman quarterback on the team last spring.

“It was a really difficult part of the decision because coaching your own child is a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a special thing, but at the same time it’s very difficult because everyone is trying to win, so it can also cause tension in a relationship, as anyone who has coached their child knows.”

Graham said he was looking forward to being a regular dad in the stands and not on the touchline.

He also teaches both standard and excellent environmental sciences, but hopes to add advanced environmental science to his responsibilities soon.

“I think it’s really important and it’s getting more and more important,” he said. “I wish I was 20 more years old and had the energy to do both, but I don’t have that and if I have to focus on one and not the other, then I will focus on science.” about the environment, not about sports. I think that’s more important.”

Noah just turned 20 – turning 31 in August – and will add head football coaching duties to his role as assistant girls’ basketball coach at the university and lead a youth and government club while also teaching social studies.

“At the end of the basketball season, I will have to do double work, but it will work,” he said.

Noé said he is working on building a strong support staff that he hopes will include former players.

He also wants to put his own stamp on the program.

“I’m a known commodity and my commitment cannot be questioned, so there won’t be a crazy acclimatization period,” he said. “Not to say that I will do everything like Matt. I have things that I like that he might not have much of, but it wouldn’t be too radical or out of the ordinary.”

And while he looks forward to leading the team, Noe is grateful to be able to visit Graham, a man whom he calls not only a colleague, but also a friend.

“We are very close, he and I, so he is always available any time I need him and I know he will support me,” Noe said. “He was the best role model and example for me. He is the main reason why I am doing this and why I have been his assistant for so long and why I am now becoming a head coach on his recommendation.”

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