Only three games into the season, Cougar basketball has a new leader for the boy's squad. Coach Jim Acton, who came aboard this past August, submitted his resignation on Wednesday, Dec. 5 just hours before his team was to face off against Prescott High School. Bill McKnight, an assistant coach with the Cougar baseball program, has taken the reigns.
Acton's coaching career began in 1985, he ranks second in the state for the most wins in boys basketball with 629, behind Gary Ernst of Mountain View High who has 754 wins.
McKnight's first outing against the Badgers ended in a 71-27 loss in Prescott, the Cougars have withdrawn from a scheduled tournament in Globe this weekend to concentrate on regrouping under their new coach.
According to Chino Valley Athletic Director Pete Jelovic, Acton is expected to remain on faculty in the special education department.
"It's unfortunate, the way this happened, but at least this early in the season we have the opportunity to make some changes and concentrate on the rest of the season," said Jelovic.
Tension between Acton, his players, and some parents over his decisions on the court may have contributed to his decision. In a recent game against Camp Verde, a conversation in the locker room during halftime resulted in one player not returning for the second half, and the Cougars being forced to play out the fourth quarter with only four men on the court.
The Cougars next travel to Camp Verde on Tuesday Dec. 11, then return home to host Bradshaw Mt. on Thursday Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
Wednesdays loss against Prescott leaves the Cougars 0-4 on the season.