Dunton duo leads Liberty basketball programs
Like father, like daughter. Randy coaches boys, daughter Emilee coaches girls
BEDFORD, Va. – The Liberty boys and girls basketball coaches have many roles. They're cheerleaders, teachers, vocal leaders, and family.
Emilee Dunton, a former college basketball player, is in her third year coaching the girls team. As of last year, her father Randy runs the boys program.
"When the administration asked me what I thought about it, I was very excited, I knew if anyone could handle the task it would be Dad," Emilee said.
The hire was no surprise. After years of coaching Emilee, the roles were reversed in her first year at the helm, as Randy served as her assistant.
"That was a real joy to see her start to blossom in her career and then we just saw a need in the program, and she twisted my arm a little bit said 'Dad this will be real fun if we are both heading up these programs at Liberty High School,'" Randy added.
The Duntons have not only turned around the programs, leading both teams into the post season last year. They also reinvigorated enthusiasm in the school and the community.
"As a teacher here at Liberty, and a coach, you can see the spirit shift in the student body and be excited to come out to the boys games," she said.
Randy spent many seasons coaching at the collegiate level and was the head men's basketball coach at Liberty University from 2002-2007. He led the Flames to a Big South championship and an NCAA tournament berth in 2004.
"It's really been a great challenge for me even at my age, to come in and till the soil and replant some seeds and change the way kids think first and foremost," he said.
Randy didn't just teach Emilee how to play the game, he taught her how to be a coach.
"I always loved going to his practices, going to his shoot-arounds, taking notes. And Dad always said that I could be Pat Summit or whoever I dreamed of being as long as I have my concentration level and work ethic," Emilee explained.
Emilee and Randy will continue to build the Minutemen to what they hope will soon be state title contenders. In the process, they will cheer, teach, and coach, together.
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