It's been a very challenging season for the Berea Community boys basketball team.

The squad has been in COVID-19 quarantine twice -- including currently -- and has played only five games.

Now, they will have to finish out the year without their head coach.

Ray Q. Valentine announced on his Facebook page Wednesday he had left the program.

"I have some sad news," Valentine said. "My dream has to end for now. I've made the decision to step down as the head boys basketball coach at Berea due to some personal and family reasons. I would like to thank the school district for this great opportunity and wish them the best of luck in the future."

Valentine was hired in October after Eric Swords took the head coaching position at his alma mater -- Williamsburg.

Valentine spent most of the past 20 years as an assistant coach at both the high school and college levels, including at Georgetown College and Kentucky State. This was his first head coaching position.

Valentine's departure leaves the Pirates in an unusual and difficult position.

Berea Community athletic directory Jerry Bingham, though, says the school's administration is forming a plan.

"We are ready to move forward," Bingham said.

Bingham and other school officials were scheduled to meet with the team on Friday afternoon.

Jerry Thacker -- who was an assistant under Valentine -- and Steven Bailey, the school's baseball coach, will likely run the team the rest of the season.

"They are both on board," Bingham said of Thacker and Bailey. "They know these kids."

The Pirates (1-4) came out of COVID-19 protocol this past week and took on Great Crossing last Saturday. It was the team's first game since Jan. 23.

However, school officials were informed on Monday that several Great Crossing players had tested positive for COVID-19, sending the Pirates back into quarantine.

Berea Community can return to team activities on Tuesday and is scheduled to take on Boyle County on Thursday in Danville.

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