Floyd County High School’s girls varsity coach Alan Cantrell brought five state championships to the Lady Buffaloes and one for the boys. (Photos by Doug Thompson)

Alan Cantrell, the legendary coach of the Floyd County High School Lady Buffaloes, announced his retirement from basketball this week, ending a run that brought four state titles to the ladies and one for the boys.

The school Tuesday promoted JV coach Jason Dalton to varsity for the upcoming 2017-18 season.

Cantrell ends his 37-year-run coaching basketball at five high schools in Virginia but the Buchanan native began his coaching career in Floyd County in 1977 and returned there after stints at Grundy, Whitewood High in Buchanan, Tazewell and Pound.

His record includes:

  • 37 seasons overall as a girls head coach and 17 as a boys head coach.
  • 1,352 games as a head coach at four high schools.
  • 991 wins overall.
  • 749 girls basketball victories.
  • Four girls state titles for FCHS, one boys championship and four girls runner-up finishes.
  • 22 girls seasons at Floyd with 20 wins or more.

In the 2016-17 season, the Lady Buffaloes made the final four for the state championship before losing to eventual state winner Central Wise in the quarterfinal game at James Madison University.

Under Cantrell, the Lady Buffaloes won back-to-back state championships in 1993 and 94 and then took the the top titles again in 2008 and 2013.  They were runners up in 1983, 2007, 2009 and 2015.

He tried to retire in 2010 but returned after his son, Alan, left for a college coaching position.  Alan returned to become athletic director and assistant coach a year later.

Travis Cantrell will leave Lady Buffs coaching along with his father.  Next season, a Cantrell will not be stalking the side courts of a Lady Buffaloes game.

Cantrell says he and his wife, Gayle, will spend time breeding Rocky Mountain horses at their farm near Willis and relax.

“I may try to go somewhere and sit in the woods for a few days,” he tells Robert Anderson, high school sports editor of The Roanoke Times.

Dalton says he plans to keep Floyd County girls’ basketball with the run and pressure style of play that has brought success to the program but says stepping into the role is “bittersweet” with the loss of mentors like both Cantrells.

Head coach Alan Cantrell and his son and assistant Travis in action in 2010.
Celebrating one of the state championships with the Lady Buffs.