PISGAH, Ala. (WHNT) – Carey Ellison has made quite an impact on the Pisgah community where he’s led the Pisgah girls basketball team to five straight state championships. But this season, Ellison had a great challenge with an opportunity to make a greater impact: he was the head coach of both the Pisgah girls and boys basketball teams.

“This is our time of the year,” Ellison said.

Getting to this point has been a challenge for longtime legendary basketball coach Carey Ellison, who added to his place over the summer.

“We just had teacher unit issues, wasn’t going to have enough and unfortunately our boys coach was a low man on the totem pole so he got released and there was no one else really to do it so. I really respect the boys programs here and respected the kids and wanted to be there for them, and it’s been a good experience,” Ellison said.

Throughout the season, Ellison went from running the girls practice straight into the boys. Same thing on game days, the girls would play and then the boys would immediately be on the court for warmups.

“Some nights that’s easy and some nights this year it’s been tough because we take a tough loss and then have to go out and coach again. Missing those moments in pregame and postgame, that’s been a real challenge but like I said, it’s been worth it so far,” Ellison added.

Ellison has had to balance the different goals for both programs but still led them to success. The girls are once again advancing to the regionals, while the boys pulled off a big upset win for the area title.

“Our boys have a lot more drive than most of the people give them credit for. We’ve been down a little bit for a few years and they’ve worked really hard, they’ve bought in, and started doing all of the little things that we’re asking so I’ve learned there’s different ways to do the same things. “We’re all in. We want to shock the world. I think most people, I know they doubt the boys and then some may have some false hope for the girls or at least talked that way, but I believe in both of them. We’re just now getting to play solid as a girls unit and our boys have been improving pretty much every game so I feel like we have an excellent opportunity to be in Birmingham with both teams,” Ellison said.

He also reached a personal milestone this season, achieving 700 career wins and on Monday night he reached his 700th win as the Pisgah girls varsity head coach.

“It’s an honor. It says a lot about longevity but I’ve also had a lot of success and been fortunate,” Ellison added.

But for Ellison, he’s had just one goal in mind this season, and that’s impacting all of his student-athletes.

“Getting to see the boys’ lights turn on and suddenly understand some of the concepts that aren’t that much different, but finally getting them to turn the corner. When the girls realize that they’re not out of it despite some hurtful losses, I’ll remember seeing those moments. We get so caught up in trophies and banners and rings and we forget that for some of these kids, this is their one shot at having something that they can look back on and cherish so we want to make sure they cherish each game, not just whether they win or lose a championship,” Ellison said.

On Tuesday, the Pisgah boys defeated Fyffe 61-56 in overtime to advance to its first regional since the 2017-18 season.