This summer, Covenant Day School hired Wade Tapp as its new boys basketball coach.
Tapp, a 2003 Charlotte Christian graduate, spent the last four seasons as the Lions’ boys junior varsity coach and also recently wrapped up his first year as the middle school assistant principal at Covenant Day.
Tapp takes over for John Whitley, who during the 2011-12 season guided the Lions to their first N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 3A tournament appearance.
“I think I have a huge advantage coming from the JV ranks,” Tapp said. “Coaching is not all about X’s and O’s, but it is about building relationships with the guys and building team unity. Also, I am on campus, so I can see these guys in different settings and be very accessible to them. That is where I think I have an advantage.
“I am most excited because I have been with these guys on JV. I get to see them mature and grow — not just as basketball players but also as young men.”
Tapp will have a host of returning talent at his disposal, led by 6-foot-4 senior guard David Airing, who averaged more than 18 points per game.
As a junior, Airing was one of southern Mecklenburg County’s best players this past season, when he surpassed the 1,000-point total for his career – an accomplishment that typically is reached by seniors. He also was named to the all-Metrolina Athletic Conference team for the second consecutive season and drew the attention of a number of college programs, with teams from the Southern Conference (Elon), Ivy League (Cornell and Yale) and the Big South inquiring about him.
Airing isn’t the only strong player Tapp will have at his disposal, though. Also returning are point guard Ben Hawks, a deft passer who averaged more than eight points and nearly six assists per outing, and Ethan VanDeVelde, who averaged nearly six points. Key reserve Drew Pierce also will play a vital role.
“We have a good core of five or so seniors and a group that has come up through the system together,” Tapp said. “Plus, the guys know what I expect out of them, and they know what to expect out of me. We will have a few guys move up from last year’s JV team, and all of the guys know me and my style.”
Tapp said Covenant Day is in a unique situation and he hopes to build the basketball program, as well as ensure that the school continues to establish its own identity.
“(Whitley) set a high standard of expectations,” Tapp said. “We are a young high school with eight or nine graduating classes (in our history), so every year we want to help put Covenant Day on the map by doing the right thing. That is the standard (Whitley) has set, and I am looking forward to continuing that.”