Celebrating 30 Years of Devotion: Coach Earl Fountain’s legacy at Cape Hatteras Secondary School

By on March 14, 2024

Coach Fountain honored at the last home game. (Photo credit Cape Hatteras Secondary School)

By Joel Diaz | Outer Banks Voice

For 30 years, Coach Earl Fountain, who retired at the end of this just completed season, has been a mainstay in high school basketball at Cape Hatteras Secondary School. Yet, before he stepped onto the court with his coaching skills, Fountain laid the foundation for his career at Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative. Starting as an apprentice lineman in 1978, Fountain has dedicated over four decades of service to the company, rising to the position of operations manager in 2019.

This commitment has extended to the basketball court, where Fountain’s impact on the lives of players and the community has been profound. His achievements include leading a boys team to the Final Four in Class 1A and girls teams to the Final Eight, along with clinching more than 20 conference championships, and his dedication to the sport is undeniable.

“I’ve always believed it’s all about the kids,” he told the Voice, reflecting on his coaching journey.

In recalling significant games and memorable seasons, Fountain finds himself immersed in memories, but it’s the relationships forged with his players that stand out the most. “One year with Robinsonville, we beat them at home in the playoffs after they got the better of us the previous year,” he recalls.

Beyond victories and successes, Fountain’s coaching philosophy prioritized values that extend beyond the court. “Academics always stay with you and take you further in life,” he asserts. His mentorship extended beyond the basketball court, instilling in his players the principles of honesty, dedication, and self-improvement.

During his coaching career, Coach Fountain faced challenges, from small rosters to the unexpected impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he navigated these obstacles, creating a culture of perseverance and a bond among his teams. The community stood as a pillar of support throughout the years. “Every year we made the state tournament, the gym was packed,” he remembers.

Looking ahead, Fountain hopes that his coaching methods will continue to shape the program and its players. With his assistant coach, Randy Ratliff, set to take the reins, the coach’s legacy of putting the kids first and creating an environment of openness and support will endure.

“I’ll be at all the home games,” he affirms, ready to continue offering his steadfast support, whether as a spectator or a volunteer.

Athletic Director Woody Willis said, “I played for Coach Earl and coached under him as an assistant…It has been an honor to work with and beside him for all these years and he has had a big impact on the athletes over the last 30 years.”

Former player Kristian Head reflects that “Earl’s contributions to Cape Hatteras Basketball are truly remarkable…My fondest memories range from Earl taking our constant jokes and banter like a champ to beating Manteo with a packed-out gym in a round of state playoffs.”

Beth Rooks, Principal at Cape Hatteras Secondary School, expresses gratitude, stating, “Earl Fountain has been an icon at CHSS for the last 30 years…Our island has benefited from his dedication to our students and the character that he has instilled in each athlete under his leadership.”

Randy Ratliff, Cape Hatteras Food, Nutrition Health Coach, acknowledges Coach Fountain’s impact, saying, “We can never thank him enough for his time and commitment to Cape Hatteras Athletics’ 30 Years of Coaching Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball at Cape Hatteras. He is loved and cherished by former and current players.”

See what people are saying:

  • Chad Williams

    It has been an honor to coach against Coach Fountain when he had the boys and watch him against the girls. Teams were always prepared and played hard. Wishing him nothing but the best!

    Friday, Mar 15 @ 7:35 pm