Athletic director Donny Mayfield did not have to search far for his new head men’s basketball coach. Mayfield announced Monday morning he is handing the keys to the men’s basketball program at Tennessee Wesleyan University over to associate head coach Ray Stone.
“When I sat there and thought about which direction to go with the men’s basketball position after Coach (Mike) Poe told me of his decision, it was really a no-brainer on who the perfect candidate to take over the job was ,” stated Mayfield.
Stone, a former player and alum of then-Tennessee Wesleyan College, stayed at Wesleyan after graduating in 2000 as an Admissions Counselor for three years before leaving to pursue another profession. Stone returned to Tennessee Wesleyan in 2004 and has been a part of the men’s basketball staff for the past 14 seasons, most recently serving as the associate head coach.
“I’d like to thank former Athletic Director Stan Harrison for bringing me back to Tennessee Wesleyan in 2004 to be the assistant head coach on Mike Poe’s staff.”
Unlike most assistant coaches, Stone is not stepping into the lead position without head coaching experience, though it does not come from basketball. During his first eight years back at Tennessee Wesleyan, Stone served as the head coach of men’s and women’s cross country program, overseeing a program which had multiple national qualifiers during his time. “Some of my fondest memories in coaching came as my time as the cross country coach,” said Stone. “The time spent as the program’s head coach helped me set a foundation in coaching I still use to this day.”
The man who spent 14 seasons with Stone on his staff is looking forward to the success his former associate head coach will bring. “I’m very excited for Coach Stone,” former head coach Mike Poe said.” Ray was a loyal assistant coach for me and it’s his time now. College basketball has shifted to a young man’s game and he is more than ready to take over the program.”
Stone does not take the opportunity he has been granted lightly as he takes over the program. “It’s an honor to step into this role after being a devoted member of the Tennessee Wesleyan family since I was a student-athlete here. I have to thank Coach Poe for not only the lessons he taught me on the basketball court, but for his friendship off the court as well,” said Stone. “I also want to thank (athletic director) Donny Mayfield for trusting me with this team’s future and I look forward to working with the team to build on the success it has experienced.”
“In a coaching search, I look for a few things, two of them being continuity and someone I can trust to run a program with honesty and integrity,” Mayfield said. “Having seen Coach Stone as a player and on the coaching staff for the past 14 years, I know his ability to bring both those attributes.”
Stone will begin the duties of head coach immediately.