Every summer (well, and part of the winter/spring too occasionally), we go on what us sports writers like to call the “coaching carousel.”
It’s that time of the year when coaches leave and go new places, and it inevitably becomes a full circle. One coach leaves this place, which opens up for another coach to leave where they are, and so on and so forth.
Here in Monroe County, we have plenty of coaches who have been in their current spots for a while, and tons of coaches at each school that are the coaching equivalent of “homegrown talent” - they went to that school, they have come back to coach there and are happy in their home.
But each year, we too are on that coaching carousel, with a few different changes in each school, and this year was no different with moves in almost every place. I like to be sure we get a story on each individual new coach, whether they are a totally new face or someone being promoted within where they are already originally at. I think it’s a good way for everyone to learn the new coaches and what their vision is for their teams going into the next year.
We (mostly) have all those changes down, so here’s a little bit of a rundown on some of the new (or in new position) coaches at each school.
At Aberdeen, two new head basketball coaches were announced back in May – Sanqueeta Meardith for the girls and Kelvin Young for the boys. Young has won a state title with Kemper County, and Meardith is a former standout player from Shannon.
We have a few changes at Amory. Of course, Brooks Dampeer was announced as the Panthers’ head football coach back in March, and he and his staff have had the Panthers going strong this summer, getting ready for the upcoming season. They even hosted 7-on-7 the past two weeks, and you can see some photos from this Wednesday’s action inside.
As you can read about above, Chris Pace, Amory’s long-time assistant coach and former slow-pitch head coach, will be the Panthers’ next head baseball coach. It’s a move I can already tell his players are excited about, and he’s poised to help bring them on another deep playoff run next year.
At Hamilton, Wade Tackett, who previously won a championship with Hollandale Simmons, was also approved as the Lions’ next football coach, and they too have been busy with some 7-on-7 this summer at Hatley.
Like Aberdeen, Hatley also hired two new basketball coaches with Jake Smith coming over from Choctaw County and Shelley Scott, a Hatley native, coaching at her alma mater.
Nettleton was where plenty of new coaches were hired, including for baseball, softball and girls’ basketball. Makenzie Sullivan, who I covered during her senior season for softball, will also be coaching at her alma mater. Luke Hargett, fresh off a state title as Madison Central’s assistant coach, is the next baseball coach (his story was just in last week’s paper), and Brent Kuhl, who has had much success at Hickory Flat, will be the girls’ basketball coach.
Smithville is our one school that is returning everyone with just one small change as Brian McCollum, the girls’ basketball coach, will take over coaching volleyball this fall.
It’s taken me this entire summer to make sure I have everyone straight – and hopefully I can keep them this way. Hopefully this breakdown will help all of you remember the new faces in new places.