RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — After 42 years as head coach at Ravenscroft High School, Ned Gonet’s tenure is quickly winding down.
“I feel like it’s time for me to turn the reigns over at this point,” said Gonet.
On Friday night, Gonet will coach his final regular season home game at Ravenscroft when the Ravens host Harrell’s Academy. The stands should be packed and you can bet there will be a few people in attendance whose lives coach Gonet helped mold through the years.
“They come back and say ‘you know coach, you coached me hard. I understand what you meant by discipline, accountability, punctuality, being a team player and I’ve used that in my life, I’ve used it in my marriage, I’ve used it in my career and that’s what’s created my success so I just want to thank you for that,'” Gonet recounted.
Old school, that’s Ned Gonet and he doesn’t try to hide from it. You can see it in his coaching. From traditional running drills, to the ladder and yes, even the blocking sled—simple, basic drills that help mold the football player. Drills that shape lives.
“Definitely work ethic,” said Ravens senior linebacker Nolan Dirks. “He knows, he’s been doing it for awhile. He tries to get us to follow his work ethic too and that’s something that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.”
Five state titles, 11 conference championships, 15 Coach of the Year honors, close to 300 career wins. Gonet’s resume speaks for itself, and that’s what most people see. But those stats don’t even begin to tell the story of his amazing coaching career.
“He cares, he cares, he’s very old school but he’s old, I’m sorry, that’s how that works,” laughed senior quarterback Kyle Hawkins. He’s like that coach from Remember the Titans it’s [like] Novocain, it’s going to work at some point.”
It’s working again this season.
The Ravens are 8-1 on the year despite this squad playing with the pressure of trying to send their beloved coach out on a high note.
“Seeing the seniors last year not being able to do what they did on the last home game of the season, it left a bad taste in my mouth and I don’t want to have that taste anymore especially for coach Gonet because he’s done a lot for this program and a lot for me personally too,” said senior runningback William Stevenson.
Soon Gonet will walk off the field for the final time—42 years of coaching behind him.
“I think I’m just going to turn my back and kind of jog off the field and appreciate 42 years, it’s a long time and you know I’ve got a lot of great memories,” Gonet reflected.