Michael Mosley wasn’t ready to ride the fence.

SouthWest Edgecombe’s new boys’ basketball coach was around the game and athletics for years. And when the right opportunity arose, he found out that he indeed wanted to lead a team again.

He wasn’t ready to walk away.

“There’s a phrase where when a cowboy gets too old they make him ride the fence,” Mosley said. “He’s on the ranch and doesn’t get to rope steers or break broncos. I wasn’t ready to ride the fence. I still think I have some cowboy in me.”

Mosley took over this season for the Cougars after longtime coach Shelton Langley stepped down after last season.

The Cougars’ new coach is a fan of cowboy movies, and he said that his favorite movie in the genre is ‘Shane’ with ‘Monte Walsh’ coming in a close second. And it’s the latter in which Mosley found a connection with basketball and his life.

“Monte Walsh is a movie about a cowboy who goes into the turn of the century and he refuses to not be a cowboy,” Mosley said. “People are getting into other things and moving on, but he believes that there’s always a place and a need for a cowboy.”

Mosley still has that passion. He spent more than 20 years in athletics in the Nash County school system, coaching at Northern Nash for 15 years. He then coached at Nash Central from 2002 to 2009 where he acted as the basketball coach and athletic director.

He retired after that year, but returned to be the Bulldogs’ AD from 2012 to 2016. Since 2016 he has been an assistant men’s basketball coach for N.C. Wesleyan College.

“Once I was doing some recruiting and going to practices, watching players work and watching games, I had this thought that I would like to do this again,” Mosley said of his time at NCWC. “With the approval of my wife (Melba), me and Coach (Shelton) Langley had the convo asking if I would like to coach here.”

Mosley’s first season back has been different than previous years for obvious reasons, relating to COVID-19. The games look a little different as players are required to wear masks during games, and an extra timeout is added to each quarter so players can have a “mask break” where they are permitted to take them off.

Temperature checks are required before games, and virus-related questions have to be asked and answered of each player before a contest.

But it has been fun and exciting, Mosley said, as he has enjoyed the first month coaching again.

“They have been great. The kids want to play, and the kids made adjustments to everything going on, it’s the adults who have the most difficult time with it,” Mosley said. “I have been enjoying it, and I really like this team. They are really good to work with and they work hard.”

Mosley and the Cougars earned a win in their season opener on Wednesday by defeating Wilson Hunt 63-59. Junior Xavier Mayo led SWE with a team-high 21 points while adding seven assists and four rebounds.

Ray Wooten finished with a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Wooten also had four steals. Jaden Richardson added 11 points with eight rebounds.

SWE begins Eastern Plains Conference games with a Jan. 19 away game at Nash Central.