On the cover of the Jan. 23 issue of West Of there was an article entitled “Countdown to 500,” anticipating the 500th career win for West Ashley High School head boys’ basketball coach Ronnie Dupre. There were a couple more games left in the 2013-2014 season and it looked inevitable that DuPre would reach the milestone before the end of the season. However, the Wildcats dropped the first of the two games, leaving one very winnable game left on the schedule.
But Mother Nature had different plans. A winter ice storm forced school closures and the game was cancelled. Because there were no playoff implications, it was never rescheduled. Dupre would have to wait until the next season before reaching the milestone.
“I am a Math teacher so I ‘ve learned to not chase numbers, because you will never catch them,” said DuPre who did record that elusive 500th career earlier this month in WAHS’s season opener versus North Charleston High School. DuPre isn’t buying that West Of jinxed him or that there is a “West Of Cover Curse.”
West Of is very beneficial for our school. I never thought of it as a jinx,” said DuPre, who’s in his 28th season as a head coach, all with James Island and West Ashley high schools. “I’ll just blame it on being one of several things that didn’t go our way during a difficult season.” DuPre has higher hopes for the 2014-2015 season and doesn’t plan on stopping at 500.
“My goal for each team never changes from year to year,” says DuPre. “It is to represent our school the best we can, try to create a chemistry in which the players can enjoy each other and develop positive memories, and play a role in helping our guys mature and grow to become great fathers, husbands, and productive citizens.”
While DuPre deflects the credit to his players and assistant coaches, his teams have averaged an impressive 19 wins per season over his career and he has won 12 conference championships. At WAHS, DuPre has helped build arguably the most consistent sports program since Middleton and St. Andrew’s high schools combined.
“The milestone means a lot as long as each player from both schools (West Ashley and James Island) feel responsible for it because everyone’s role, although different, was very important,” said DuPre.
So what does he plan to do with the game ball from the 500th victory? “We will probably paint it and I ‘ll keep it along side other balls that represent accomplishments of different teams over the years,” said DuPre. “It will be nice to have it to look back on at a later time.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean DuPre is ready to ride off into the sunset following this season. “As long as I have the energy that the program needs and deserves, I will continue coaching,” he said. “I want to be certain that I can still make a contribution and not be in a position where somebody is afraid to tell me it is time. I have friends who will tell me and our administration will hopefully tell me when the time has come that the program would benefit with new leadership.”
Until that day, you can bet the math teacher and basketball coach will be crunching and crushing numbers on and off the court at West Ashley High School.

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