The Sampson Independent continued its “Where Are They Now” series of the summer podcast as the interview shifted over from football to basketball. Dwight Horne was the second member covered as we looked into what the old Clinton coach has been up to.
Horne, who is known for his role as the former head basketball coach for the Clinton Dark Horses, wasn’t always a coach. He, like most coaches, played the game himself before leading a team with the title head coach. He was a former player for another local well known team in Roseboro-Salemburg.
His experience leading a team may have stemmed from his time there as he was a point guard for Roseboro-Salemburg. Though Horne conceded he didn’t score much while playing the position, he shared his most memorable moment during his time as a player.
“I was a point guard for Roseboro so I never scored that much. But, I’d say my most memorable moment was when I was a senior, during a playoff game I scored 21 points,” said Horne.
“Then the next most memorable experience was when we played the following team after I scored 21. I thought I was a scorer after that, but I don’t believe I shot more than twice that whole night,” he continued with a laugh.
“I played with a lot of great guys and had a lot of great experiences. Matter fact, five seniors from that team got together not too long ago and recreated a photo we had taken from when we were seniors in high school 40-something years ago and that was fun too,” added Horne.
After his playing days were over, Horne ended up coaching the sport he once played. While he eventually became the head coach for Clinton’s men’s varsity team in 1998, he wasn’t always in that position for the Horses. Horne was the coach for the JV team and became the assistant varsity coach from 2008-12 after switching with then-assistant coach, Brad Spell. Horne gave 21 years to coaching and shed light on some of the highlights of his career during his time with the Horses.
“Well I guess the highlight of my career coaching basketball at Clinton was basically working with those young men. Seeing them grow and mature as players and go on to become good fathers and good role models for other young men, that was probably the highlight,” stated Horne.
He didn’t give all his time to coaching basketball either as Horne is also a success business man that runs Clinton Appliances and Furniture. A job he’s worked for many years and one he worked while coaching at the same time. An achievement he still can’t believe he was able to manage for so long.
“For 14 years I coached basketball and ran the company and I still don’t know how I did it to tell you the truth,” said Horne. “I had some good help in the company and had good assistants at Clinton including Brad Spell so that really helped me out a lot.”
“I’ll tell you another truth, I probably learned as much about running the business on the athletic field as I ever did in the classroom. Both of them are challenges but you learn that you have to take the good with the bad,”he continued. “You enjoy the wins and you enjoy the good years of the business. With the losses you have to analyze what you’re doing and you do the same thing during the bad moments of the business just like you do on the basketball court.”
Horne may no longer be coaching, but he is still an active supporter of athletics here in Sampson County being seen in the crowd at many Clinton basketball events. When asked about the biggest difference between the game now and during his career, now as a spectator, he’s stunned by the caliber of athletes today and the games speed.
“Well continually, even though I hadn’t been out of coaching for about five years, athletes just keep getting bigger, stronger, faster, jump higher and shoot better. They continue to improve and I don’t know if I could coach as fast as the games being played now but it’s still fun to watch,” he remarked.
With his final statements Horne touched on what he expects from this upcoming basketball season as the Horses bring in new head coach Ron Davis and the loss of many seniors.
“This team this past year was so good, I remember telling someone that that team was probably, talent wise, 20 points better than any team we we’ve ever had, they were just unbelievable,” said Horne. “But, I’m looking forward to Ron coming in he’s a great guys, he loves the young men and has the right kind of attitude.”
“He surely won’t have the talent that they’ve had in recent years but he’ll do fine. One thing people don’t know about Ron is that he’s won seven championships over at the middle school and won 50-plus games in a row before ever losing one,” Horne added.
“I tell people that I take credit for that. See, he coached one year for us at the high school and learned what not to do, then applied all that lack of knowledge when he went to the middle school,” he said with a smile.
“But, regardless I’m looking forward to seeing him coach because he’s a fine young man,” concluded Horne.