Former Creek Wood coach Justin Palmer is leaving the Red Hawks and taking the head coaching job at Shelbyville Central, returning to Shelbyville after spending four years there as an assistant and offensive coordinator. Palmer tendered his resignation Wednesday and told his team Thursday he was leaving.
Palmer replaces former Golden Eagles coach Jason Hardy, who spent a decade as the head coach there before announcing his resignation in June. The move comes almost a month before Creek Wood opens it’s season against Dickson County.
Shelbyville pursued Palmer after it had learned that Hardy was leaving. At first, he was not interested in leaving so soon from the season starting.
“I actually did not contact them,” Palmer said.
“I was there for four years and had been in contact with them. I knew it was a possibility that coach Hardy could be stepping down to take a job back home. When he did, they called me and offered me the job. I said ‘no, it’s too late.’”
However, as time passed, Palmer’s mind began to change a bit.
“I told them a few things would have to happen in order for me to consider it. I gave them a list of things I wanted to see get done before I considered it. Little by little, they chipped away at that list and ended up giving me everything I wanted,” said Palmer.
“The ability to move back to Shelbyville where my dad can have a job there as a teacher and a coach. He can move in with us and help out with the family. My son’s godparents live there, so it’s just one of those things where it makes perfect sense for my family.”
Of course, since Palmer’s offense left a positive mark on the Golden Eagles success, it also made sense for him to go back to a system he was familiar with.
“We had a lot of success while I was there,” said Palmer.
“We won the region and made it to the third round of the 5A playoffs my last year there, which is something that hadn’t been done in a really long time there. A big reason was because I was part of coach Hardy’s staff that had a lot of success. They’ve continued to run the offense I brought in there, so it made sense to look at me to keep continuity there.”
Palmer was hired back in February of 2015 to replace Chuck Daniel after Daniel coached the Red Hawks for 11 years as the head man. He went 3-7 during his lone year at Creek Wood. The memories he had and experience he learned from his time with the Red Hawks will be imprinted in his life forever, Palmer claims.
“It was a good experience to come in and a run a program,” said Palmer.
“These kids were awesome. They’re some of the best kids that I’ve been around. They’re real easy to coach and do everything you ask them to do. You don’t have to beg them to work hard. They’re what made the decision tough, especially the senior group. They’re such hard-working group full of fine young men.”
A native of Hamilton, Al. and graduate of Troy University, Palmer was a high school standout quarterback and an All-State selection. He joined the staff at West Creek in Clarksville in 2010 before being hired by Shelbyville for his first stint there.
Creek Wood announced Thursday afternoon that athletic director Chuck Daniel will take over as the head coach. Palmer believes that he will have a good group to work with for the upcoming season.
“They’re in good hands. We’ve built a great staff over this past year, and that’s one of the things I’m proud of. It’s a staff full of guys who are dedicated and are here to give their effort to the kids and program,” said Palmer.
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