It will be the second stint for Birchfield, a Roan Mountain native, who was at the helm of the Lady Highlanders program from 2001-15. He led Cloudland to five state tournaments, including back-to-back state tournament appearances in 2002-03 and 2012-13.
Cloudland lost to eventual state champion Clay County in 2012 and state runner-up Union City in 2013.
Most recently, Birchfield has served as Cloudland’s softball coach. This year, he led the team to a school-record 21 wins, the program’s first-ever share of the Watauga Valley Conference title and a first regional berth. He was named conference coach of the year.
He will take over a Cloudland girls basketball team that went 23-8 and saw its season end in the Region 1-A semifinals. The Lady ’Landers are expected to return a strong core of players from that team.