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Commentary: A tale of two coaching searches

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …” Charles Dickens wrote those words to open his 1859 classic, "A Tale of Two Cities".

He must have had a crystal ball into the 2019 Williamson County prep basketball coaching merry-go-round.

On one hand you have Summit, where the Spartans lost both their girls’ and boys’ coaches, Kari and Josh Goodwin, to a career change. The Goodwins were Summit basketball, right down to their young son Max, who grew up in that gym, just as the county’s newest school has grown. They will be missed.

It took the administration at Summit less than two weeks to hit not a pair of home runs, but grand slams in finding their replacements.

The first was Franklin’s loss, as girls head coach John Wild resigned to take over the Summit program. Wild owns three state titles (1999 Moore County boys, 2000 Bradford girls and 2012 Riverdale girls) and added to his more than 500 victories with a 46-13 record in two years with the Lady Rebels.

Last week, the Spartans welcomed Jim Fey as the new boys’ basketball coach. Fey left the same position after 23 seasons at East Nashville, posting a 422-253 record including five state tournament appearances and two trips to the finals. Four trips and both final appearances came within the last 10 years when Fey posted a 254-68 (78.9%) record.

On the other hand, there is the dumpster fire at Centennial.

Just a week after being named the District 11-AAA Coach of the Year, Centennial’s administration removed Coach Pete Froedden, citing a desire to, “…go in a different direction.”

It took the Cougars seven weeks to name Miquel Coleman of Seneca High in Louisville (KY) as the new head coach.

He quit less than a week later. Within a day of Froedden being named the new head coach at Hillwood High in Nashville. The coach the Cougars discarded had a job quicker than they could find his replacement.

It wasn’t from a lack of effort, though. The school called the remaining four coaches on their list of top five candidates.

Every one of them turned the job down.

In the meantime, what surely would have been the preseason district favorite, loaded with eight returning seniors, has started to crumble. Reportedly, All-District Tre Carlton has moved to Spring Hill, and his equally talented partner Dusty Williams is considering not playing. Three others are considering joining Williams in sitting out the season. But we haven’t rolled out a rack of basketballs yet, either.

The final shoe to fall came last week, when Coach Megan Moore, the last remaining assistant from Froedden’s staff, who had been holding things together as well as possible as the interim head coach, left that position. Her decision, but sudden.

Moore’s move came the day before the Cougars announced the hiring of Tyler Hickman, via a single twitter post, as the new head coach. Hickman left Fayette Academy in West Tennessee, a job he had accepted exactly one month prior.

Typically, I would think jumping ship that quick should be a red flag, but Hickman has connections to Centennial.

The first-time head coach spent three seasons as an assistant to Froedden at Centennial, then moved last year to an assistants’ spot at Battle Ground Academy under Jared Street. Street, by the way, played his high school ball at Harding Academy in Memphis … under head coach Pete Froedden.

It will be interesting to watch the direction the Centennial program goes.

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