The Charleston School Board voted to approve A.J. Alexander as CHS’s new boys basketball coach on Wednesday evening.
Alexander, who served as assistant coach this past season, replaces Cody Drone, a first-year coach who accepted a teaching position at Shelbyville High. Alexander serves as a truant officer for the regional education office.
Alexander ran the team while Drone was away for more than a week early in the season. The Trojans thrived under the guidance of the two coaches. The Trojans posted an 18-11 record last season, which featured an 8-4 mark in the Apollo Conference. CHS finished second in the conference and had its first winning season since 2012-2013. The 18 wins were the highest for Charleston since the 2005-2006 season.
Alexander is among six CHS coaching changes approved by the board.
Nicole Beals, who works in the technology department for the school district, will take over as head coach for the volleyball program. She previously coached volleyball at Paxton-Buckley-Loda. Ashlee Robinson, a teacher at Carl Sandburg, will serve as her assistant coach.
Steve Pamperin had stepped down as head volleyball coach at Charleston last fall after a three-year stint during which the team went 52-43, posted a school-record 25 wins in 2019 and CHS captured the school’s first IHSA Regional Championship since 1997. During the COVID spring season, Charleston finished 19-5 followed by a 8-26 mark last fall.
Kat Gallaher, a special education teacher, will take over from Mary Buchar, as Trojets coach. Gallaher previously served as co-coach of the cheer team, taught dance at the Mattoon Academy and was a Pink Panther at Eastern Illinois University while in college.
Chelsie Doughty will now assist Dwight Pentzien, who guided the CHS girls swim team to its best postseason ever, earning him sectional coach of the year honors. Doughty, who competed for EIU’s swim team, is a former swim coach at the high school.
Jeremy Hudson, meanwhile, stepped down as the girls basketball season after one season during which the team went 1-23. He will remain as a math teacher at the high school.