Meet the Coaches
During its ten-year history, the men’s basketball program at Davidson County Community College has become one of the elite junior college programs in the country. Under the leadership of Head Coach, Matt Ridge, the Storm has won 268 games in ten years, against just 54 losses. The 268 wins are the most wins by any National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III program in the nation over the ten-year span. His 83% winning percentage is also the highest winning percentage in the country during this time frame. Also, the Storm has compiled a record of 154-15 (91.1 %) at home since the start of the program in 2007.
Ridge has directed the Storm to five outright regular season Tarheel Conference Championships, while being Co-Champions in four seasons. The Storm claimed the Region X Tournament Championship in 2010, 2011 and 2017. In all three of those seasons, the Storm advanced to both the District VII Championships and the NJCAA National Tournament. In national tournament play, the Storm finished 8th in 2010, 4th in 2011, 5th in 2016 and 7th in 2017. The Storm won the District VII Championship for the fourth time in 10 years and finished 7th in the National Tournament during the 2016-2017 season.
Ridge made his college head-coaching debut in 2007-2008 with the DCCC Storm following a successful stint as the boys' basketball coach at East Davidson High School in Thomasville, N.C. He turned the Golden Eagles from a bottom dweller into one of the Central Carolina Conference's top teams over six seasons. During 2006-2007, Ridge was the assistant men’s basketball coach at Guilford College, helping lead them to an NCAA Division III Elite Eight showing. Ridge coached the inaugural Storm team (2007-2008) to a national ranking of 9th in the nation in the NJCAA Division III rankings, a Co-Championship of the Tarheel Conference regular season and an overall record of 22-7. In the 2008-2009 season, the Storm was ranked as high as 4th in the nation with a record of 25-7, and were again regular season Co-Champions of the Tarheel Conference.
The third season, 2009–2010, saw the Storm program continue to flourish, overcoming a number of injuries to go undefeated in the conference, capturing the outright Regular Season Championship. The team won the Region X title for the first time and defeated an extremely talented Montgomery College – Germantown In the District VII title game to advance to the NJCAA National Tournament in Delhi, N.Y.
The 2010-2011 season was one for the record books. After returning only two players from the previous season, Ridge and his staff brought in a recruiting class that would help push the Storm to the top of the NJCAA polls for the first time in program history. The Storm finished with a program high 34 wins against just 2 defeats. DCCC was ranked #1 in the national polls for 15 weeks total, and 10 weeks consecutively. After capturing the Regular Season, Region X Tournament and District Tournament Championships, the Storm returned to the NJCAA National Tournament, this time in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y. In the first round, the Storm were upset by eventual national champions Mountain View College and finished 4th in the National Tournament.
The Storm captured another outright Tarheel Conference Regular Season Championship in 2011-2012. Although ranked in the top 10 nationally throughout the season, the Storm’s journey came up a bit short in the Region X Tournament Finals against rival Sandhills. Ridge’s squad finished the season 29-3 record. The Storm finished 23-7 during the 2012-2013 season and 22-5 during the 2013-2014 season.
During the 2014-2015 season the Storm finished 10-0 in conference play during the regular season and once again captured another outright Tarheel Conference Regular Season Championship. After being ranked in the top 10 of the national polls all season long, the Storm’s journey came up a bit short in the Region X Tournament Finals. Ridge’s squad would finish the season with an outstanding final record of 24-6 overall. The 2015-2016 season was another highly successful season for the Storm. DCCC finished as Co-Champions of the regular season, District VII champions, 5th in the National Tournament and an overall record of 30-5. The 2016-2017 season was another outstanding year for the DCCC men's basketball program finishing with an overall record of 30-5, regular season championship, Region X Tournament and District Tournament Championships & the Storm returned to the NJCAA National Tournament where they finished in 7th place.
Ridge and his coaching staff continue to bring in quality players and get them to buy into the team concept. Ridge and his staff have produced six All-Americans, three Region X Players of the Year and three Region X Freshman of the Year award winners in the nine years of the program’s existence. Ridge was named the Region X Coach of the Year four consecutive times, and also the District VII Coach of the Year in 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2017. Ridge was named the Region X coach of the year 7 times during a ten-year period.
After graduating from Ledford (NC) High School where he played varsity basketball for three years, Ridge attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in secondary mathematics education. Ridge also completed his master’s degree (through the University of Phoenix) in Curriculum & Instruction in October 2012. He played two seasons on the Tar Heels' junior varsity men's basketball team before spending his final two seasons as the team's student assistant coach under Phil Ford and Dave Hanners.
Ridge and his wife Candice, reside in Thomasville, N.C. with their three daughters, Mattison (11), Parker (8) and Ella (6).
Dylan Hall will join the Storm in the first year of his career as a college assistant coach. Last season he was an assistant coach at Science Hill High School in Johnson City,Tennessee.
Hall played his college ball at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Virginia under headcoach Hilliary Scott. In 2013 and 2014 Dylan was selected as a member of the All-ODAC Academic Team and the NABC Honors Court. While attending Lynchburg he received a B.A. in Sport Management.
Following graduation from Lynchburg, Hall continued his studies at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. There he received his M.A. in Kinesiology and Sport Studies. While attending ETSU, Hall worked as an intern and graduate assistant for the Men’s Basketball program under Head Coach Steve Forbes.
Coach Hall is from Westfield, N.C. He played high school ball at North Stokes High School under Head Coach David Anderson. Hall was on the All-Conference team twice and finished his career second all time on the Viking’s scoring leader board.
Coach Pickeral is a North Carolina native born and raised in the Piedmont triad area. He was a student athlete in high school participating in football, baseball and basketball. After graduating high school, he continued his athletic career and education as a student athlete at Greensboro College. In 2010, Coach Pickeral graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, he furthered his education by attending graduate school at The Canisius College of Buffalo. In 2012, he completed a Master’s of Science degree with a concentration in Physical Education.
Coach Pickeral comes to DCCC with 6 years of coaching experience. In 2010, Coach Pickeral accepted the basketball coaching position at Paisley IB Magnet school. After his time at Paisley, he accepted the position of head basketball coach and physical education teacher at North Davidson Middle School (2011-2015). At any given chance during the middle school season he also served as an assistant to the men's varsity program at North Davidson High School. Coach Pickeral has served as a member of the North Carolina Coaches Association in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In 2016, he was hired as the head women's basketball coach at Piedmont International University. Through persistence and hard work as a team, they were able to reinstate the first women's basketball program in five years.
When offered the position to be on the DCCC basketball coaching staff, Coach Pickeral gladly accepted! He states “I am excited to take on a new endeavor at this point and time in my career.” Coach Pickeral is a strong believer in the motto "better together". He believes, “individuals should strive to do the best they can on and off the court every day. When this occurs, a team will come together and be destined for greatness.”