Helton resigns at Greater Beckley Christian

Brad Davis/The Register-HeraldBrian Helton, shown coaching Greater Beckley Christian against Woodrow Wilson on Jan. 10, 2020, has resigned. Justin Arvon, seated second from left, will lead the Crusaders into the 2021 season, which begins March 6 at Grace Christian.

King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven."

The time has come for a change in the boys basketball program at Greater Beckley Christian School.

It was officially announced on Tuesday that head coach Brian Helton has stepped down and handed the reins to assistant coach and former player Justin Arvon.

"There were a lot of factors that went into the decision," Helton said. "I have been coaching since the 2000 season, on and off, at different levels, but with all of the different responsibilities I have with business and now with the school, it just made a lot more sense. I have always wanted to be sure that I gave the kids 100 percent because this was their time. The four years they get to do this is a very important part of their life and an important part of their school career.

"I just didn't want to be doing something if I wasn't going to be doing it 100 percent. These guys have worked so hard in the offseason. With what they have been through with Covid, to feel like I wasn't going to be able to give them 100 percent would be a huge injustice. We have such a great group of kids right now, I wanted to be sure they had the best opportunity possible and have a coach that would be there all the way."

A prolific scorer in his high school days, Helton coached the boys team from 2001-07, before returning to the head spot in 2015. It was a time full of memories that he says he will never forget.

"There were a lot of really special moments from so many guys. Overall, it is that yearlong grind that I have enjoyed. I enjoyed the offseasons. I loved the summers and the three-week period getting to travel with kids, going to camps and watching them develop over the offseason," Helton said. "My greatest joy of coaching was seeing guys improve, watch them put in the effort and see them develop from year to year. I really loved seeing the joy on their faces from their success after putting in all that hard work in the offseason."

Last season, Helton had arguably one of his best teams. After capturing a sectional and regional crown to punch its ticket to the state tournament, the season was derailed by the Covid-19 virus which brought things to an abrupt, bittersweet end.

"To have those guys get to the state tournament and then not be able to compete, was a major disappointment," Helton admitted. "The good thing was those guys did everything they could and went out and won their last game. Up until this past season, there were only three teams in boys basketball that typically ended their season with a win. So to end the season with a win was a great feeling. I think they really had a chance to win it all."

Although he is stepping down from the bench, Helton is convinced that the Crusaders will be in great hands under Arvon and longtime assistant Scott Lawson.

"I think we have the best coaching staff in the world coming back and I am really excited about Justin taking over. That is going to be a great staff. They have really worked hard with the kids and I think the guys are really ready to play for them," Helton said. "Justin did so much for me and took so much of the burden off me that he was practically the head coach last year. He was amazingly successful as the middle school coach and is a great tactician. He is probably a little more disciplined, people would say, on the guys than I am, so I think it will be a really good thing for the program."

Arvon and Greater Beckley Christian senior Ezra Drumheller were just two people expressing gratitude on their Twitter accounts for what Helton had done for them over his coaching career.

"There is no way for me to say thank you to this guy enough for all that he’s given over the years, not only for me, but every student (past and present) at GBC and even non-students. Grateful is an understatement! Glad you will continue to be around," Arvon wrote.

"So blessed to have played under this amazing servant of God. He is one of the greatest role models in my life and I genuinely hope that one day I can impact my community as much as he has," Drumheller wrote. "Thank you Coach for everything. Words do not do justice for how thankful I am for you."

Helton's impact also went beyond the players who wore the GBC uniform. Former Woodrow Wilson standout Bryce Radford also had words of gratitude for the former GBC coach.

"Can't say enough about Coach Helton," Radford wrote. "(He) has done so much for me and I didn't even go to GBC! Congrats coach, you impacted more lives than you know."

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