By Brian Hoffman firstname.lastname@example.org
Two coaches familiar to Lord Botetourt High School were chosen to fill the spots on the basketball coaching staff last week. Renee Favaro will move to the end of the bench as head coach of the girls’ team and Andrew Hart returns to LB as head boys’ coach.
Both new head coaches started as assistants eight years ago under the two coaches who stepped down following the 2018-19 season. Favaro, then Renee Guilliams, assisted 22-year veteran Chuck Pound after playing for Chuck as a student. Hart came to LB that same year and assisted Chad Conner for three years before taking a head coaching job at his alma mater, Pulaski County High School.
“I think we have two good ones,” said Pound, who will remain athletic director at LB. “When Andrew was here I saw how he taught the game and worked with kids. Then he went to Pulaski County and turned that program around.
“Renee has been my right-hand person for a long time. She was in my office every day during planning period and she wasn’t afraid to speak up if she thought something needed to be changed. She’ll do a super job.”
Favaro is a 2004 graduate of Lord Botetourt, playing on a team that was ranked No. 1 in the state during her senior year.
“Then we fell victim to Magna Vista,” she said. “I played with some really good players, including Nikki Moats and the Graham girls.”
A three-year varsity player, Renee also swam for LB when the girls played basketball in the fall. She was on the team when the girls’ season moved to the winter and picked basketball over swimming when the two sports conflicted, and she’s been on the court ever since. She played for Division II Francis Marion in Florence, S.C. in college, and that helped shape her desire to coach.
“We got a new coach my senior year,” she said. “I didn’t play as much, but I had a different role and I learned so much from that coach that I fell in love with coaching.”
Favaro has been the jayvee coach for all eight years on the LB staff and has also been a varsity assistant. She enjoyed working with Pound, who gave her a lot of input.
“I feel blessed that he gave me a voice,” she said. “The girls know me, and I’ve been a head coach for every girl on the team but one (Grace Taylor, who transferred in and did not play jayvee).”
Renee’s jayvee teams have been undefeated for the past two years, and she returns some good talent from this year’s team, including one of the best players in the state in center Miette Veldman.
Hart has a team on the way up. The Cavaliers didn’t have a good record this season at 8-16, but they showed marked improvement as the season progressed and return most of the team.
“We played against them (at Pulaski), so I’m familiar with the players,” said Hart. “We’ll have some good young guys with some size and some height.”
Hart is a graduate of Pulaski County High School, where he played for highly regarded coach Mark Hanks. He played college ball at Emory & Henry for two and a half years under Wasp legend Bob Johnson, finishing under his successor, Paul Russo.
“I played under some great coaches,” said Hart. “I learned a lot from coach Hanks, and coach Johnson was awesome. He challenged you in a lot of ways, and taught us to be men.”
Andrew coached under Russo for a year at Emory & Henry before coming to LB in 2011. He doubled as jayvee coach and varsity assistant, but when the Pulaski County job opened he was hired by his alma mater.
“It was a big draw, going back to Pulaski,” he said. “My wife was in grad school at Virginia Tech and it was fun going back to coach where I played.”
Hart’s wife, Dr. Hannah Hart, is now a full-fledged veterinarian in Roanoke, and that was one of the reason’s he left Pulaski. When the Botetourt job opened, it was a perfect spot.
“With her job in Roanoke, it was a much better fit,” he said.
Andrew is a math teacher and Renee teaches English. Both families are expecting babies in the near future, Renee any time now and the Harts in September. Both are expecting boys, and that’s good news down the road for Andrew. Both figure to be here for a long time.
“This is my home,” said Favaro, whose huband Josh played football at VMI. “I was waiting for this job. I told Chuck that I’ll wait as long as he wanted to keep coaching, but this was the job I wanted.”