Josh Searcy is no stranger to Rutherford County athletics. He has excelled on the basketball court and the baseball fields during his time in Small Town Friendly. Now Searcy is taking his talents to the next level where he will play basketball for the Wake Tech Community College Eagles in Raleigh next season.
"I plan to go play there for a season and then transfer to a four year school and play," Searcy said.
Searcy also fielded several offers to play baseball in college, but eventually decided to hit the hardwood instead.
"As much as I love baseball, I kind of got burnt out on baseball," Searcy said. "Plus, it gives me a chance to play for my old AAU coach again, so I am excited."
Searcy did not immediately take the college route, choosing instead to work with the grounds crew that maintains McNair Field after finishing his senior year at East Rutherford in 2018.
"I needed a break and to refocus on my goals," he said. "Working with those guys was the best and exactly what I needed. It was tough to keep working out and stay in shape, but I feel like I am ready to go."
Even though he is going to play basketball in college, Searcy says his favorite sports memories involve baseball. During his time on the baseball field, Searcy was centerfielder and pitcher on the 2013 Rutherford County Junior League team that made it all the way to the Junior League World Series in Taylor, Michigan.
"That team was like a family," Searcy said. "No matter what else happens, I will remember that trip the rest of my life. The World Series is a once in a lifetime experience."
Curtis Snethen has coached Searcy on various teams since he was eight years old, including the one that went to Michigan, and had high praise for his former player.
"Josh has always been that special athlete," Snethen said. "He was always bigger, stronger, faster than everyone else. He was so good that he never had to give 100 percent to be successful. It took a unique coaching style to motivate him sometimes, like it does with a lot of great athletes. I think taking a year off and working was great for Josh because he had to get a real world job and realize that you can't play sports the rest of your life. Now he has a second chance to reach his goals and I am very proud of him."
Former East Rutherford basketball coach Brad LeVine, who coached Searcy his junior and senior seasons, echoes similar sentiments.
"Josh is one of the best athletes I have ever seen," Levine said. "He was one of the best players, if not the best player on the field or court, no matter the sport. I remember we had just finished basketball practice one time and he drove up to TC Roberson to play with the baseball team. Keep in mind, he had not swung a bat since summer Legion ball. He hit 3-4 with two doubles against one of the best baseball teams in the state. That tells you how good of an athlete Josh Searcy is, but you know what? He is an even better person. He is always laid back with a smile on his face. He is a joy to be around and was a joy to coach. I am so happy he is continuing his career."
While Searcy says he learned many important lessons while playing sports in Rutherford County, there is one foremost in his mind that will help him in his college career. "Don't ever give up. Don't ever quit and no matter what happens keep following your dreams."