Life was good as West Carter’s basketball coach, but Aaron Rayburn is ready for Better Life.

Better Life Church, that is.

Rayburn accepted the full-time position Monday as campus pastor at Better Life Church in Grayson. In turn, he resigned as West Carter’s girls basketball coach and as a biology teacher.

Rayburn has served as the youth minister at Globe Christian Church, which is pastored by David Rayburn, Aaron’s father.

“My heart was prepared for ministry, and I saw the position open there, so I was just interested to see what they were looking for and made a phone call,” Rayburn said. “Four weeks later, I got offered the position. ... This is a huge life change, for sure.”

Rayburn didn’t entertain the idea of pastor-coach double duty.

“One of the biggest things I keep saying to the girls is, ‘My role in your life is going to change, but our relationship doesn’t have to,’” Rayburn said. “I’m just not going to be their coach. As a minister, that’s so freeing because I can just be their supporter. ... I can be somebody in the stands, or they can call and I can help with their game.”

Rayburn closes the book after four seasons. The Lady Comets accumulated 77 wins and 52 losses during Rayburn’s reign. In 2018, they reached the 62nd District’s pinnacle for the first time since 2007. West Carter captured another district crown this past winter. It was a 16th Region semifinalist each of the last two years.

“It means a lot to me to see a program at West Carter thrive. We want that in every single program we have. But it’s good to see people getting excited about girls basketball again,” Rayburn said of a sport that produced a state title in 2000. “There are more and more people wanting to be a part of it.”

West Carter returns a notable nucleus. Sophomore Allie Stone has already zoomed past 1,000 career points and is on pace to hit 2,000 early in the 2019-20 season. She averaged 20.3 points a game in 2018-19. Ragan Adkins, Kallie Burchett and Becca Nolen are also back.

“I was lucky enough to have a young team on the rise when I first started,” said Rayburn, a former West Carter standout basketball player. “We learned together and grew together. It was one of the biggest learning processes of my life.”

As a result of his decision, Rayburn will also spend more time with his wife, Emily, and their 20-month-old son, Asher.

Rayburn didn’t rule out coaching again in the future.

“If God opens the door, we’ll keep walking through,” Rayburn said. “The timing doesn’t make sense in some ways to some, but it’s cool to see God move.”

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