Michael Dodgen couldn’t pass up an opportunity to get closer to home.
The 10th-year Cannon County girls basketball coach resigned on Thursday and accepted the same position at White County.
Dodgen, who was named The Daily News Journal’s 2015 Girls Basketball Coach of the Year, lives in Cookeville.
“It’s a closer move to home,” Dodgen said. “I can be with my family a little bit more. It’s not anything other than that. This is just an opportunity to be at a place where basketball is a lot like Cannon County in that they really follow it.
“They love their basketball here. I wasn’t looking to leave.”
Dodgen replaces Bryan Haley, who resigned after the season. Haley is also an assistant principal and will remain in that role, White County principal Grant Swallows said.
Cannon County reached the Class AA state tournament four of the past five years. This year’s appearance came after the Lionettes finished fifth in District 8-AA in the regular season.
Dodgen captured his 300th overall win this past season. He won 240 games during his tenure at Cannon County.
“It was tough telling the team today,” Dodgen said. “I think they understand why. But some of them didn’t like it. At the end of the day, it’s a situation that’s good for me at this time to make.
“It’s going to be a little odd for me and them. I’ve been a fixture here for 10 years. Some of these kids, this is all they’ve known. They are a good group of kids. The next head coach at Cannon County has a good opportunity here. They are a group of kids that will work hard.”
White County reached the Class AAA sectionals last year, falling to eventual state runner-up Oakland.
Swallows said Cannon County’s season stood out to him when looking for a new coach.
“I’ve been impressed with what he’s done, playing in one of the toughest districts in the state,” Swallows said. “He’s a good coach. What he did last year shows he believes in his program. We hope he can replicate that here. We had a great year last year, but lost five seniors.”
Contact Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Kreager.