Wild resigns at Riverdale, accepts Lipscomb assistant job

Wild resigns at Riverdale, accepts Lipscomb assistant job

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Wild resigns at Riverdale, accepts Lipscomb assistant job

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MURFREESBORO

There isn’t a high school in the country that John Wild would have ever considered leaving Riverdale for to coach high school girls basketball.

However, he couldn’t turn down his college alma mater.

Wild, 46, resigned from Riverdale after two seasons to become a women’s basketball assistant coach at Lipscomb University, his alma mater.

“They have such tremendous administrative support at Riverdale,” said Wild, who is 430-162 as a head coach. “The facility was great to work with. I think it’s got a community feel in a big-school environment.

“I was truly blessed to be part of that for three years.”

Wild was 68-5 in two years at the school and led the Lady Warriors to the TSSAA Class AAA girls basketball state championship game both seasons. Riverdale was state runner-up in 2011 and state champion in 2012. Riverdale finished fifth in the ESPN Hoopgurlz Top 50 national poll this season.

This year’s team finished with a 34-3 record and a 23-game win streak. The Lady Warriors didn’t lose a game during the 2012 calendar year.

He was an assistant at Riverdale under former coach Hillary Hodges for the 2009-10 season when the Lady Warriors won the state title.

Wild told his Riverdale team in an emotional team meeting Thursday.

“That ranks up there with one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do as a coach,” Wild said. “It was tough because I’ve watched these kids grow as players and people. I’ve seen them become better kids and see lifetime principles grow in them.”

Riverdale principal Tom Nolan said he would take his time searching for a replacement. The team just wrapped up its final team camp. A TSSAA two-week mandatory dead period begins next week for all Tennessee high school athletics.

“It’s going to be wide open,” Nolan said. “It’s a position of interest. This is an excellent team coming back. My main concern will be the girls and finding a top-quality coach that can win another state championship.

“I think there will be great interest.”

Riverdale returns three starters — District 7-AAA regular season MVP Tyisha Petty, guard Alexa Middleton and MTSU commitment Olivia Jones — from last year’s team. Shelbie Davenport, who was the team’s first player off the bench last year, also returns.

Wild has also won two other state titles as a head coach. His 1999 Moore County boys team won the Class A state title. A year later, his Bradford girls team won the Class A title. His 2002 Lawrence County team reached the Class AAA championship game before falling.

Wild played at Lipscomb for former coach Don Meyer. He has been close friends with new coach Greg Brown for several years.

“This is nothing more than a career move,” Wild said. “I don’t have to uproot a family. I get to coach where I went to school. And I get to work for a guy that I’ve known for over 20 years in Greg Brown. And I get to do it in an environment that is very conducive to my beliefs.”

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