Avery Wallis, a second generation East Wilkes standout player and coach, is establishing new roots at another area school this winter.
Wallis was hired in June as the head boys varsity basketball coach at Starmount High School in Boonville and will take on his alma mater for the first time on Jan. 18. He was offered the Ram job by Principal Chad Mann, the former East Wilkes principal.
“The transition has been a really good one,” said Wallis. “Dr. Mann and the administration are also doing great things at Starmount that have made the transition easy. I have worked under him all four years of my teaching and coaching career (at East) and he creates an awesome environment for the community, staff, and students.”
Wallis said his friends and family have all supported him in the Starmount decision and transition. “My wife (Payton), especially, has been supportive and helped me pursue what I am passionate about. Coach Ralph King and the players have given me a warm welcome and been a huge help.”
Avery’s wife, Payton, still teaches Spanish and coaches the girls soccer team at East Wilkes. Avery is teaching social studies at Starmount.
“I am fortunate and blessed to teach great students that make every day interesting and meaningful,” added Avery. “The same can be said about the athletes I have been able to work with.”
Wallis starred on the Cardinal hardwood from 2009-2013, averaging 19.8 points a game his senior season, and continued his hoops career at Lees-McRae College, developing into a starting guard even after enduring three surgeries on his left arm before his redshirt sophomore season.
He later coached boys soccer, was head JV basketball coach and assisted with the boys varsity basketball teams at East.
Regarding his return to Ronda as an opposing coach, Wallis said being it will “certainly have a different feel to it. So much of who I am as a person, educator, and coach can be accredited to that place and the people there.
“I extremely look forward to watching the guys I have coached there compete with the team I am getting to be a part of here at Starmount. It should be a fun game to be a part of in a great environment.”
Looking at the Ram team he inherits, Wallis noted he has several returning players with leadership abilities and varsity experience.
“I really look forward to coaching this team,” he said. “They were able to be successful in previous years and we will continue to try and build on that and improve each day. The new league (Northwest 1A) should be very competitive and we will have to work hard and bring our best effort every night.”
Avery’s brother, Jordan Wallis, was the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference’s co-player of the year in 2016-17 with North Wilkes and played at Roanoke (Va.) College. His sister Aubrey also starred at East and played volleyball at Surry Community College.
Avery’s parents, Chuck and Heather Wiles Wallis, both played on conference and sectional championship teams at East Wilkes.