Tharpe, 29, won 72 games in three seasons as he led the Newton-Conover women's team. The program's resurgence lifted Newton-Conover back into prominence as a state 2A power as it played in back-to-back Western Regional 2-A championship games.
Newton-Conover posted records of 19-9, 28-4 and 25-4 in Tharpe's three years coaching the women. In the regional finals, Newton-Conover fell to eventual state champion Salisbury in both 2010 and '11.
Tharpe replaces Mark Carter, who has retired from teaching and coaching. Tharpe played varsity basketball for the Red Devils during his time as a Newton-Conover High School student.
Tharpe will continue to teach fifth grade at Thornton Elementary School in Newton.