Former Father Ryan coach, athlete Tommy Bateman dies

Former Father Ryan coach, athlete Tommy Bateman dies


Former Father Ryan coach, athlete Tommy Bateman dies


Tommy Bateman, a former star athlete at Father Ryan who coached the Fighting Irish in football from 1984-88, died on Monday.

He was 56. Bateman suffered a stroke on Thursday.

He went 30-23 with the Fighting Irish, including a 10-2 season in 1988.

“He was a practical joker,” Father Ryan wrestling coach Pat Simpson said. “Tommy would talk to anybody. He was a terrific guy, a good friend and he’s definitely going to be missed. Pretty good golfer, too.”

Bateman wrestled in the 167-pound weight class as a junior in 1974 and helped lead the Irish to the state title. He took second in his weight class before winning it the following year.

His son, Buster, won the Division II 189-pound title in 1999, and they became Ryan’s first father-son state champions.

Tommy was a tackle and an all-state linebacker on Ryan’s 1974 Class AAA champion team that beat Fulton 29-28 in the final. He went on to play for Memphis.

“He was a great high school athlete,” Simpson said. “Tommy started our youth wrestling program. The Bateman name is synonymous with Ryan. His brothers all came through Ryan, and all were good athletes. Tommy married a Francescon, which is another big Father Ryan family and he had some daughters that came through, too.”

Coaching openings: Davidson Academy and Waverly are looking for new football coaches.

Interim coach Paul Townsend, who went 3-8 at Davidson Academy this season, will apply for the job with the Bears.

Townsend stepped in for Bill Alexander, who resigned two weeks before practice started in July.

“From day one, this was our plan of what we wanted to do for the next football season,” Bears athletic director Kevin Harper said. “We had the same understanding that we were going to open it up once this season was complete. I think we’ve got about 90 applicants so far.”

Townsend went 4-25 at Mt. Juliet Christian from 2007-09.

Davidson Academy won Division II-A titles in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

Waverly’s Trey Graves resigned after going 32-62 the past nine seasons, including three playoff appearances.

“It was a family thing,” Graves said. “I’ve got a daughter that’s going to be a junior in high school. She plays basketball, and my son is going to be a freshman. There are a lot of things we don’t get to do as much because of my schedule primarily. It was nothing of a forced nature or anything like that.”

Waverly’s last winning season was in 2006, and the Tigers went 1-9 this season.


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