(WLTX) --- Ricky Bouknight didn't plan on joining a basketball program that is the top-ranked team in Class 4A.
The graduate of Brookland-Cayce was prepared to enter his 13th season as the Bearcats' head basketball coach when in June, he was fired by BC athletics director and head football coach Rusty Charpia. The dismissal came three months after the basketball season had ended.
In the weeks after that decision, Bouknight went through the appeals process with Lexington School District 2, while members of the Cayce community voiced their outrage.
In the end, the decision was upheld which meant Bouknight was still working at the school as a teacher, but he would no longer be making that short walk from his office to the gym for practices and games.
Bouknight says he had several opportunities to coach but in the end, he went back to the school where he worked in the 1990's.
As a former assistant to Tim Whipple, Bouknight was very familiar with the way Whipple coaches and what he expects from his team - making it was almost a seamless transition back to the Yellow Jacket program.
Whipple says Bouknight has played a pivotal role in the Yellow Jackets' season. Whereas Whipple is usually the "bad cop" in dealing with players, Bouknight's role has been to not necessarily be the "good cop", but the guy who can explain to the players what Whipple is looking for and thus, improve the communication skills from the top down.
Because he still teaches at B-C and lives in the community, Bouknight says he has tremendous affection for the school. But when he makes the drive to Irmo, the B-C colors are taken off for a bit and it's all black and gold.
He may not have planned it, but there is a very good chance come March, Bouknight and the Yellow Jackets will be in the mix for what would be a fifth state championship at Irmo.