Bishop ready to re-fire Rockets

Friday, March 15, 2019
The new Forrest basketball coaches posing in front of their alma mater in Chapel Hill are from left, assistant Matthew Delk and head coach Corey Bishop.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After four years at the helm of the Rockets basketball team, head coach Randy Toombs turned in his resignation last week and Forrest hit the reset button with the hiring of 2011 alum Corey Bishop.

“I just remember whenever I played all the way from my freshman to my senior year it was a mindset when we came in to the gym that the other team thought I don’t want to play against those guys because of their toughness, their resiliency, their effort, and determination on the defensive end and the rebounding scale,” Bishop said. “If we can established those things, we think we can get Forrest basketball back to being that team that is feared in this district.”

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree at MTSU in 2017, Bishop had a one-year stint at Community High School where he guided the Viqueens to a 19-12 record and a District 12-AA title.

“It was great, I had the pleasure of working for a great administration and we were able to be successful over there and win the district championship in 2017.” Bishop said. “We are hoping that the mindset that that team bought in to over at Community, we can establish that back here and have our guys have that mindset as well.”

Bishop had a chance to return to his alma mater this year as the eighth-grade physical education teacher and as an assistant football and baseball coach while watching basketball from the sidelines at Forrest.

“Watching has made me hungry,” Bishop said. “As we get closer to the season, I get a little hungrier and little hungrier and I can’t wait until November.

“I’ve had a chance to sit back and watch and work on my craft as a coach.”

Bishop lives in Chapel Hill with his wife Chloe.

Helping Bishop next season will be another Forrest alum Matthew Delk, who returned to Chapel Hill in 2016 after graduating from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Delk has been on the Forrest football staff since returning and is looking forward to working with Bishop in getting some more student athletes involved in the basketball program.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to coach basketball,” Delk said. “One of the main reasons I’m doing this is to coach another sport and take a football perspective and put it in basketball.”

“There are kids that play basketball that don’t play football, so I would like to get to see these kids come out and play another sport because in 2A athletics you have to do that.”

Bishop agreed with the mixing of the athletic programs at Forrest, saying, “Like coach Delk said, we are trying to get all of our athletes to spread out to multiple sports so all of our programs here at Forrest can be as successful as possible.”

Corey Bishop (30) runs out for the Rockets at the Eagleville Christmas Tournament on December 28, 2010 where one 3-pointer and two free throws for five points.

In his days playing on the hardcourt in Chapel Hill, Bishop was a glider on offense, never afraid to take the rock to the rim and was a deadly 3-point shooter, but his specialty was always on the defensive end, sticking to opponents like glue, never backing down from stepping in and taking a charge.

Delk summed up the defensive strategy for the Rockets, saying, “It’s hard for them to score when you get in their way, we are going to be aggressive, have good footwork, and protect the rim.”

Bishop concurred, looking back to when he played ball to explain the heart of their strategy going forward at Forrest.

“If a team can’t score, a team can’t win,” Bishop said. “That’s going to be our motto, which has always been Forrest basketball in my eyes is a great stifling defense and a defense that other teams fear when they come in to the gym every night.”

Bishop laid out the game plan for the Rockets offensive attack next season.

“I think shooters are getting better and better across all classifications and it’s kind of where the game is going,” Bishop said. “But coach Delk and myself are going to pride ourselves on getting easy looks, we want to have high percentage shots at the basket, multiple cuts, and multiple backdoors so we can utilize our personnel.”

Nest season, the Rockets will be without the four graduating seniors from this year’s squad in Ty Hengesbach, Sam Ford, Martin Stewart, and Mitchell Everett and Bishop had high praise for the group, saying, “Those four seniors represented Forrest basketball the best I thought they could.”

The Rockets bring back a lot of young talent and hopefully the two coaches’ philosophy of the incorporation of the other sports programs will pay off with a few new players.

“As we have these younger guys come up from junior high and us talking to some kids we are hoping we can get some talented kids to come out and contribute,” Bishop said. “We are going to have a lot of speed this year, so that is going to be our job to put us in the best offense to utilize our personnel.”

Finally, Bishop talked about bringing fans and students back in to the stands to get back to a time he remembers when the Chapel Hill crowd was so important to him and the atmosphere fired up the entire team.

“We are very excited to be back and being in this program and having Tuesday and Friday nights filled to the brim because I feel like when men’s Forrest basketball is on top, there is not a better atmosphere,” Bishop said. “I can only speak as a player, I fed off the enthusiasm of our crowd and nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm, so we are going to need that from our parents, from our school, and from our kids and I know coach Delk and myself don’t lack much passion, so we will be ready to go.”

Tryouts for the basketball team will be held at the end of May.