MURFREESBORO — Bud Brandon grew up watching his father, Campbell Brandon, sit on the visiting bleachers at Smyrna High, coaching against Harry Gill Jr.
Bud Brandon is now donning purple and gold at the North Rutherford County high school.
“We’re getting to know each other,” said Bud Brandon, who is entering his first season as Smyrna’s girls basketball coach. “Sometimes there has been some tough love in getting to know each other.
“We’re trying to get on the same page.”
Smyrna isn’t alone.
When the TSSAA’s Hall of Fame games tip off this week to christen a new season, area coaches may need to wear name tags identifying themselves for high school basketball fans. Of the seven Rutherford County girls teams competing in the ultra-competitive District 7-AAA, 57 percent, or four of them, will have new head coaches.
There are two new boys basketball coaches in 7-AAA and two new area girls coaches in District 8-AA.
That’s eight new coaches out of 22 boys and girls coaches competing in TSSAA for Rutherford County and Cannon County, or a 36 percent turnover.
“I think (the league) is going to be different,” Blackman first-year coach Jessica Jackson said. “I think it’s going to be interesting to see the styles. I think everyone is going to have a little tweak. They are still going to have the players that they have, but just like here at Blackman, I think we’ll play different than we would have if (former coach) Chad (Hibdon) was here.”
That may be the constant in a season of turnover.
The county remains one with high-caliber girls basketball talent. Blackman senior Crystal Dangerfield, a Connecticut signee, is the top-rated point guard in the country, according to ESPN. Her teammate Jazz Bond has signed with South Florida.
Oakland has a pair of Division I signees in Shelby Gibson (Ole Miss) and Ansley Eubank (Northern Kentucky).
And Riverdale junior point guard Anastasia Hayes’ offers include Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, MTSU, Ohio State and Ole Miss, along with several smaller schools.
There will just be different coaches at two of those three schools.
La Vergne’s Kim Francis, Oakland’s Jennifer Grandstaff and Siegel’s Alan Bush are the lone coaches returning to District 7-AAA’s girls league.
Jackson replaced Hibdon at Blackman after Hibdon took a college head coach’s position. Former Dyersburg coach Randy Coffman replaced Cory Barrett at Riverdale. Brandon replaced Shawn Middleton at Smyrna, and former M.L. King coach Lindy King replaced Jackson at Stewarts Creek.
Brandon won two Class AAA state titles at Wilson Central. King won last season’s Class AA title at MLK.
“It just continues along with the tradition of the league itself,” Coffman said. “Bud Brandon has had some great success in his career. He did some great things at Wilson Central.
“Jessica has been there as an assistant at Blackman and was with some great teams. What do you say? The league from a coaching standpoint is going to be tough every night.”
Barrett and Middleton were suspended from coaching by Rutherford County Director of Schools Don Odom for their role in attempting to tank the District 7-AAA consolation game.
In 7-AAA boys, former Wilson Central coach Troy Bond replaced Mike Wright at Oakland. Former Blackman assistant Michael Voss replaced Kevin Woodson at Riverdale.
In 8-AA girls, former Central Magnet girls assistant Kyle Turnham replaced Steve Willey, who resigned for a girls coaching job in Mississippi. And former Cannon County boys assistant Jonathan Odom replaced Michael Dodgen as Cannon County’s girls coach. Dodgen is now the White County girls coach.
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Kreager.