Pontotoc native and former Pontotoc High School standout Luke Hatcher was hired over the summer as the new head boys cross country coach at Corinth High School.
Hatcher is also assisting Corinth's girls and working with the junior high program.
Hatcher comes to Corinth after spending last season as an assistant basketball coach at DeSoto Central High School. He starred as a cross country runner at Pontotoc, earning All-State honors from his freshman through his senior year and contributing to three state championship teams. After high school he ran cross country at Blue Mountain for one season. He earned his degree from Ole Miss in 2016.
For Hatcher it has been a rewarding experience thus far, and he appreciates the opportunity to coach at a place where cross country is taken seriously.
"Being on the other side of it now and coaching, it's actually more fun than when I was running," he said. "Coach (Mike) Bain, coach (Charles) Covington, and coach (Nathan) Hall, some of the ones I've talked to and kind of been mentored by, they were like, 'you will really, really love it, and you'll probably love it more.' I thought there was no way that was possible, but I do. I get so excited for the kids. I get into the workouts just as much as they do when we are going through them.
"Corinth's attitude toward cross country is just like it was when I ran at Pontotoc. Getting back to a program like that really feels like home."
Hatcher's Warrior boys squad won the 4A state championship last season and, as usual, has talented competitors returning. His experience competing at a championship level under coach Mike Bain at Pontotoc has been a big influence on how we approaches his new role.
"I demand excellence from my runners," Hatcher said. "I demand that when they come to practice everyday they give everything they have, just like coach Bain did with us. I understand what it is like to run for a great program, and I want to parallel that to my coaching."
Corinth got their 2019 season started off at the Brooks Lions Invitational in Florence, Alabama this past Saturday. This week they will compete at the Chickasaw Trails Invitational in Oakville, Alabama. Hatcher says focusing and putting together the best performance in each meet is the number one priority.
"If they will keep working we are going to put ourselves in a great spot," Hatcher said. "It's really early in the season to be looking toward state. My biggest thing is what we do each week. Saturday we are going to run at a really good course. I think they have like 40 or 50 teams signed up, so we are going to have some really good competition. I'm really looking for them to show something."