ECHS’ Courtney, Knight recieve honorsPublished 10:28pm Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The season may have ended in disappointment in the form of a state Class 4A Final Four loss to Madison County, but that didn’t keep the Alabama Sportswriters Association from honoring two of the participants in the Escambia County High School Blue Devils’ basketball playoff run.
Blue Devils’ first-year coach Earlando Courtney was named 4A coach of the year, while senior point guard Fred Knight was named a first-team All-State selection.
Before coming to Escambia County, Courtney coached Greensboro to a state title. This year he led the Blue Devils to the final four and a 21-8 record.
“This is my first time winning this award,” Courtney said. “To be recognized by sportswriters who cover everything is a humongous compliment. For them to recognize me it’s humbling.”
The Blue Devils had a rocky start, going 5-5 in their first ten games before dominating their area and moving into the state playoffs.
“It’s a testament to the guys I coach,” he said. “They bought into the system. We got off to a slow start, but it all came together at the right time.”
Courtney said learning the players was also a big part of the Blue Devils turn around this season.
“Everybody found a role,” he said. “Everyone can’t do everything, but everyone has to do something. Each guy did that and the overall goal was to win.”
One change from last year’s team was Courtney switched Knight to a full-time point guard, a position the six-footer embraced.
“I think it’s a testament to him,” Courtney said. “He went from being the guy with the green light to shoot to the guy who found other guys shots.
“He had to become the man,” he added. “He stepped up.”