On the day he was introduced as West Charlotte High School’s new athletic director, Stephen Joyner Jr. didn’t talk much about sports or winning championships.
Rather, he said, his priority will be on academics, and how he can use his new position at West Charlotte to help drive classroom success.
“We’re gonna try to really push these young adults by making sure absences go down, our test scores go up, participation goes up in the classroom and trying to find different ways to motivate them to participate in those avenues throughout the school,” he said.
Joyner added: “Without academics, there is no athletics. That’s something that we’re gonna preach here.”
Why it matters: On the state’s most recent school report card, for 2021-22, West Charlotte was given a “D” rating for “low performance.”
About 80% of the school’s 1,300 students are Black, according to one website.
Joyner was introduced as the school’s new athletic director before the varsity basketball game on Tuesday, which was also the school’s alumni night, in the Charles McCullough gymnasium.
A 1997 graduate of the school, Joyner said the opportunity was perfect timing.
“I felt that all I could do was come in here and be another asset to help with Principal Robinson’s vision and help these coaches along with their vision to help these young people be successful,” he told QCity Metro.
Joyner joins West Charlotte after resigning as the head women’s basketball coach at Johnson C. Smith in Nov.2022. In his nine years with the Golden Bulls, he earned a 147-102 record that includes the 2016-17 CIAA tournament title.
He attended JCSU where he played basketball under his father and head coach, Stephen Joyner Sr., from 1998-2001. As the starting point guard in 2001, the team won the school’s first CIAA tournament title and advanced to the Division II Elite Eight.
After one season at Livingstone, the younger Joyner was hired as an assistant coach on the women’s basketball at North Carolina Central University, where he served from 2002-06. Following his four seasons in Durham, he had brief coaching tenure at UNC-Asheville before returning to JCSU, where he served in a dual role as the top assistant coach for both the women’s and men’s basketball programs.
He spent two seasons (2008-10) as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Florida A&M University. Joyner Jr. became the head women’s basketball coach at Winston-Salem State University in 2010 before returning to JCSU as head women’s basketball coach in 2012.
Joyner said the lessons he has learned during his time as a coach and from his father will help him transition to his new position.
“One foot in front of the other, head high, know where you work, know what your job is, and get it done,” he said reflecting on his father’s advice.