A couple of local high school baseball programs are about to get a shot in the arm as they each add state championship experience to their coaching staffs.
Trinity Christian Academy officially introduced Jeremy Maddox as its new middle school football coach this week. Maddox had been the head baseball coach at Union City. Before that, he was the head coach at McKenzie, where he led the Rebels to a state championship in 2006.
TCA athletic director Ken Northcut said the new coach’s role and involvement with the baseball program hasn’t been ironed out yet, but head coach Johnny Growe said he’s glad to have another coach with a state championship ring on the coaching staff.
“With Coach [Robert] Craft already on staff and all the championships he won in softball and Coach Maddox joining us, I’m wondering why I’m the head coach since I haven’t won any state championships,” said Growe, who came close to winning a couple of championships while coaching at South Side. “But I’ve known Jeremy for over 10 years and know he’s a good guy and a good baseball coach.”
Growe and Maddox have coached against each other a few times over the years, and Growe said the teams at McKenzie and Union City always came ready to play.
“His teams always play extremely hard and do small things,” Growe said. “He didn’t have his most talented team ever this past season at Union City, but they played everybody close because they did the things to give themselves a chance.
“They played hard and smart and executed well.”
Hardin County High School’s team is getting championship experience as well.
Head coach Clint Arendall confirmed Friday afternoon the hiring of Dusty Rhodes as the Tigers’ new assistant coach.
Arendall said Rhodes, who led Riverside to Class A state championships from 2010-12, was ready to get back into coaching after being away the past three seasons after being let go by Riverside in December of 2012.
“We posted an opening on our staff on the TSSAA Web site, and Coach Rhodes called Anthony Gilchrist, who used to be our athletic director, because they’ve been friends for a long time,” Arendall said. “Coach Gilchrist put us in contact with each other, and we started talking from there.”
Arendall said the discussions were positive from the beginning.
“He’s been working in his other businesses, and he said that’s the hardest work he’s ever done and he’s ready to get back into coaching,” Arendall said with a chuckle. “But he’s missed being a part of the game, and he said he just wants to jump in and help out where he’s needed.”
Arendall said Rhodes’ experience competing for and winning state championships should be helpful for the Tigers, who fell a round short of a state tournament bid in consecutive years in 2013 and ’14.
“We’ve never been to the state tournament, at least not since they went to this format of region tournaments and sectionals,” Arendall said. “I think his experience of winning championships will help us as we try to get past our district and compete with Memphis teams like Germantown and Arlington.”
Brandon Shields, 425-9751