Redan High School Lady Raiders head basketball coach Rhonda Malone retired from coaching earlier this month.
Malone, the Lady Raiders’ coach since 1998, retired after coaching the team to a 27-0 record and the 2009 AAAAA girls basketball state title.
She was also the AAAAA girls coach of the year.
Malone, a former University of Georgia basketball player, had a 207-97 record at Redan and guided the Lady Raiders to 10 consecutive playoff appearances, including four Final Fours in the last five seasons.
A replacement coach has not yet been named.
Malone, who will continue teaching business classes at Redan, did not return a reporter’s phone call as of presstime.
DeKalb County athletic coordinator Janet Francis said Malone felt it was simply time to retire.
“She has certainly created a legacy for excellence at Redan High School and her retirement is going to leave a void not only in the basketball world at Redan and DeKalb County, but in the state of Georgia,” she said. “She will be missed.”
Malone, Stephenson head coach Dennis Watkins, and Dunwoody head coach Angela Nash were the longest tenured girls basketball coaches in DeKalb. Watkins and Malone have coached against each other at least two times each season the last 11 years. Watkins described Malone as an excellent coach.
“She was a good coach, very competitive,” he said. “She was a student of the game. She always had her girls prepared and when we played them it was always a tough game, night in and night out.”
Watkins, who is entering his 12th year at Stephenson, said he always cheered for Malone’s team as long as they weren’t playing against his squad. He added that they would always tease each other.
“It was all in good fun,” he said. “It is going to be strange not seeing her down the sideline. I wish her good luck though.”
Next season, the Raiders are expected to have a strong squad again, returning 12 players from last year’s championship team including starters Alisha Andrews, Kierra Paige, MacKenzie Dalrymple and Nia Evans.
Francis added that Malone is a class act.
“She left a program with a lot of talent,” she said. “She didn’t leave a program void of athletes and in dire straits. She left at a time when she knew the program would be okay and I think that speaks volumes for who she is as a person and what she stands for.”