By Maurice Patton
Mt. Pleasant alumnus and former Tiger boys basketball coach Dewitt Whitaker has returned to the “family”, as school officials recently announced he will serve as the freshman boys basketball coach and as an assistant on the varsity staff.
Whitaker’s latest on-floor assignment was as girls basketball coach at Columbia Central, where he had posted a 4-38 record over portions of two seasons after taking the reins in December 2015.
“I give the honor to God,” Whitaker said, acknowledging varsity coach Chris Carney, principal Ryan Jackson and athletics director Eric Hughes for “this opportunity to be a part of the Tiger Family again.
“I’m looking forward (to) helping athletes grow and play the game with respect and pride.”
A 1976 Mt. Pleasant graduate, Whitaker earned his degree from Middle Tennessee State University and returned as boys coach in 1988, leading the Tigers to six district titles and three region crowns in eight seasons. His 1992 team advanced to the Class A state tournament, falling to East Robertson – coached by David Collie, who would wrap up his Hall of Fame career at Columbia Central – in the semifinals.
“I think he’s a great addition, to have him back in this community and at the school,” said Carney, entering his second season at the Mt. Pleasant helm. “He brings a wealth of head coaching experience, he had some really good teams when he was here before. I think he’s going to be a huge addition to the staff.”
Whitaker went on to serve as a football assistant at Spring Hill and as a boys basketball assistant at Central, in addition to his girls coaching duties, before retiring from coaching and teaching.
“I had the privilege to play for Coach Whitaker for two years,” said Hughes, one of the program’s all-time leading scorers. “All of his players knew how much he cared for them – not only as a player, but more importantly, as an individual.
“With a group of nine freshmen entering the program, it provides us an opportunity for the group to play games as a group against a very competitive schedule.”
“We are honored and excited to welcome Coach Whittaker back to Mt. Pleasant High School,” Jackson added. “HIs depth of knowledge and passion for the game will inspire our young players and help solidify our basketball foundation.”
Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.