Walking in a legend’s shoes is never easy, especially one like Coach Richie Alfred, who coached for 36 years and won more state championships than most can wish for. Josh Duke, a 2010 alum, is trying to fill those shoes and walk in a new path to create a legacy for himself at his former school.
Duke says, “I always kind of pegged the Grace Prep job as a sort of dream job or a job that’s right up there at the top of my lists for jobs… I went to Grace Prep for elementary school, middle school, and high school… As soon as I first heard it was open I knew I wanted to apply for it.”
Coach Duke was a former student athlete at Grace Prep and attended the school most of his life. Being a former student athlete, he was familiar with the academic expectations of the school, the prestige of the athletic department, and the Christ-like model.
One of Duke’s former teachers Rachel Hogan says, “With Josh once being a student athlete himself, I believe he knows the balance it takes to do both well and gives him a unique perspective… but more than that, even as a teenager he had a strong walk with the Lord and he has a strong walk now with the Lord and that makes the biggest difference.”
While at Grace Prep, Duke played on the basketball team throughout middle and high school. He had a great coach in Ray Forsett, who was a mentor to him, and helped him develop as a player, person, and prepared him for his job today.
Duke says, “Coach Forsett spanned basically my whole time at Grace Prep and he is one of those guys I have a great relationship with just because we spent so much time together and we also grew together; him as a coach and me as a player.”
Like his former coach, Duke has started to build relationships with his players on and off the court to help them to become better players and men.
One of Duke’s players, Truman Brown, says, “He has been great about building personal relationships with us off the court and that relationship translates to on the court… also he has taken really every player individually and worked on specific needs that the player needed, so when we get together, we are more of a team.”
In his first year, Duke is already making huge strides with his players and the program.
Duke says, “One thing we have nailed down is our theme which is together. We are better together, not just on the field or court but in class or social interactions. We don’t want people to feel alone during this challenging time.”
Duke is hoping to make a great impact this year and has already started on his path to becoming the next legend at Grace Prep.