Tag Archives: Culleoka

Culleoka lands local product to lead girls

By Maurice Patton

Catherine Upshaw is going home to begin her coaching career.

The Zion Christian and Maryville College graduate, who attended Culleoka Unit School through her eighth-grade year, is set to succeed Derrick Adkison at the top of the Lady Warriors’ varsity basketball program.

“I’m very excited about it,” said the 24-year-old said this weekend, who joined the faculty at Riverside Elementary following the Christmas break. “I just started my teaching career, and I had been looking for a coaching job in general. It didn’t matter if it was elementary, middle or high school. When the Culleoka position came around, I was like, I think I’d really enjoy that.

“Now that I have the position, I’m thrilled and I cannot wait to start.”

Catherine Upshaw, pictured during her Maryville College playing career, was announced this weekend as the successor to Culleoka girls basketball coach Derrick Adkison. (Courtesy photo)

Adkison stepped down in March after his ninth season with Culleoka, leading the team to its fourth straight Region 5-A tournament berth and its sixth appearance during his tenure. His son, Macon, will be a freshman at Santa Fe this year, where he plays basketball and baseball.

Culleoka athletics director Doug Sharp – who coached Upshaw in middle school – recently contacted his former student after a previous prospect to replace Adkison removed his name from consideration.

“She’s always expressed an interest in wanting to coach,” he said. “I saw her last week after she’d been working at Riverside all summer and asked her if she was still interested. Her already being in the (Maury County Public Schools) system as a teacher made the situation work a little faster.

“We needed to get something done.”

Following her 2019 graduation at Maryville College, Upshaw completed her masters degree requirements at Tusculum College in December. After teaching fourth grade at Riverside for the second half of the school year, she will teach kindergarten this year.

Tricia Reischman, who served as an assistant under Adkison, will continue in that role with Upshaw while coaching the middle school team.

“(Reischman) wasn’t interested in moving up, but she does have a couple of girls on this year’s team and agreed to mentor Catherine, sort of like I’ve been doing with (boys basketball coach) Mike Lovett,” Sharp said.

“What I really like about Catherine is her demeanor. I think she’ll be a good coach in the future because she doesn’t get too high, she doesn’t get too low. She just keeps that happy medium.”

With her playing career still fresh, Upshaw expects that to be in her favor as she embarks on her coaching career.

“I’ve been playing all my life. I know that aspect of the game,” she said. “Being 24 years old, I can get out there and show them what I want, not just by verbally saying it. I can coach them, I can play with them. I think that’s pretty important.”

Maryville, an NCAA Division III program, posted winning seasons in three of Upshaw’s four years – including a 26-4 campaign her freshman year and a berth in the national tournament.

“We were very successful, and the coaching there was phenomenal,” she said. “We had great coaches that knew how to talk to players, how to communicate.

“Playing with people you love and care for is pretty important. That’s a huge factor I will help these girls develop with one another.”

Hampshire in coaching search mode as Brewer departs for East Hickman

By Maurice Patton

Ronnie Brewer wouldn’t have left Hampshire for another coaching job.

But after leading the Lady Hawks’ girls basketball program for the past two years, and serving as an assistant for a year prior, an opportunity to move into administration beckoned and Brewer answered.

Brewer began duties this week as assistant principal at East Hickman High School in Lyles.

“I would have never taken another coaching job,” he said. “I love the Hampshire folks. Hampshire is the best place I ever worked. It was a hard choice because of my girls.

“But it was the right move for me career-wise.”

The 53-year-old, who also served as athletics director for four years at Hampshire, leaves the school as one of Maury County’s three that is without a girls basketball coach as classes are set to start Monday. Culleoka and Spring Hill also have openings, though both are believed to be in the final stages of filling those positions.

“I’m excited for him – but I hate it for our girls,” Hampshire principal Sonya Cathey said. “It’s a very tough time. Hopefully the position should be posted soon, and we’ll go from there to see if we have any candidates, see who’s best for our girls.”

In his two seasons succeeding Darah Owens, Brewer led the Lady Hawks to a cumulative record of 35-17, extending the program’s run of region tournament appearances to three with back-to-back berths.

Owens, who assisted Brewer over the past two years, is expected to be an applicant for the vacancy.

“We’re looking to see what is the best fit for Hampshire girls basketball,” Cathey said. “Darah is an option. As far as I know, she is going to apply. We’ll see.

“We’re hoping to find some great candidates.”

Coaching carousel: Mt. Pleasant fills girls hoops spot, four openings still across Maury County

By Maurice Patton and Chris Yow

Mt. Pleasant administration confirmed Tuesday that Kansas native Hayden Pentecost will take over the Lady Tigers basketball program for the upcoming campaign, following the April dismissal of Amy Odom after two seasons.

Pentecost spent the previous two years as an assistant under veteran Summit girls basketball coach John Wild — a factor that weighed heavily into his hiring.

“We’re excited to have him,” Mt. Pleasant principal Ryan Jackson said. “He’s from the John Wild camp; he speaks highly of him.

“He’s fired up, excited. This is the perfect opportunity for him, and he’s diving in head-first. He’s excited about the film he’s seen, the team he has, and we’re excited to have him with us.”

The 24-year-old Pentecost — his birthday is July 27 — moved to Tennessee with his then-fiancee in 2018 after graduating from Wichita State. The Lady Spartans marked his first coaching assignment.

As did Jackson, Pentecost recognized the career jumpstart that working with Wild provides.

“Working with someone that’s done it for 30-plus years, you learn a lot,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for me was that he knew from Day One that I had aspirations to be a head coach. He showed me the ropes of everything outside the Xs and Os — what happens outside the court. That’s something I’m very grateful for.

“He’s been very helpful from the get-go. I’m sure he’ll still be available if I need help.”

With the boys and girls basketball programs both moving to Class AA for the upcoming classification period, Pentecost and his young charges will be heavily tested. Mt. Pleasant will be in District 10-AA along with Giles County, Lewis County, Loretto and Summertown — the latter two of which played for the Class A state title in March.

Loretto, making its third consecutive state tourney appearance, won the crown over a Lady Eagle team that was in the tournament for the third time in five years.

Mt. Pleasant won six games over the past two seasons under Odom.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “You’ve got to go out and give it your best shot. We’ll focus on us, work our butts off and compete, and hopefully good things will come from that — playing with confidence, trusting in your ability, staying within yourself, believing in what we’ve got in our locker room and just competing. That’s the goal.

“I haven’t met the girls yet. I’m looking forward to that. There’s a good young group that I understand is eager to get to work and get pushed and they want to have success. That’s something I’m excited about.”

“That’s why I think it was imperative to find somebody fearless (and) willing to take on that challenge,” Jackson said. “This is a solid group; they’re committed, fired up, ready to compete.

“We know it’s going to be tough; that’s nothing new. But the mindset is the same. We’re going to push forward, make no excuses and be as competitive as we can.”

Current Vacancies

Columbia Central girls basketball
After Joshua Bugg was relieved of his duties at the helm of the program, the school was forced to put its search on hold for a replacement following an administration shake-up. The Lady Lions have been without a coach since March 5. New principal Kevin Eady said the school reopened the posting and are selecting candidates for interviews beginning June 21 — a week before the TSSAA-mandated dead period (June 28-July 11).

Culleoka girls basketball
Derrick Adkison stepped down from his position after nine seasons at Culleoka on March 14. The Warriors’ former coach cited his desire to watch his son, who plays basketball for Santa Fe, as the biggest reason for the move. Culleoka athletics director Doug Sharp said interviews for the vacancy have been completed and an offer has been extended, with hopes of finalization before the dead period.

Columbia Central softball
Just before the 2021 season, coach Shelby Burchell Tietgens resigned abruptly in January, citing ‘philosophical differences’; assistant Hannah Thomason Cole was appointed to the position on an interim basis. Eady said the school reopened the posting and are selecting candidates for interviews beginning June 21.

Mt. Pleasant boys basketball
Chris Carney, who spent two seasons at the helm of Mt. Pleasant’s boys basketball team, was relieved of his duties on April 1. Carney has since accepted the girls basketball coaching job at his alma mater Camden. Mt. Pleasant has yet to narrow down its list of candidates to extend an offer, but principal Ryan Jackson said the interview process is ongoing.

Filled this year

Mt. Pleasant football — Kit Hartsfield
Hartsfield, who went 22-13 with three Class 6A state playoff appearances over the past three seasons at Blackman, succeeds Bronson Bradley at the Tigers’ helm. The younger brother of longtime Midstate girls basketball coach Wendi Hartsfield Scott (Lawrence County, Riverdale, Blackman), Kit began his coaching career immediately out of college, taking the helm at Oakland Middle School and spending three years as defensive backs coach under Thomas McDaniel at Oakland High School.

Summertown football — Dakota Crews
Crews, 30, joined former Summertown coach Leslie Mote’s staff after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant at Oakland. The only Mr. Football in the history of the Lewis County program, Crews worked under Bobby Sharp for six seasons at his alma mater after completing his collegiate playing career at Maryville College.

Zion Christian football — Jeff Jordan 
Following the March resignation of Brad Lowery, Zion Christian hired Jordan, a first-year coach, to take over the program. The 36-year-old Jordan is an area native, graduating in 2003 from Page before attending Purdue University. Embarking on his coaching career with two years at the middle school level at Franklin Road Academy, he spent a year at his high school alma mater before moving on to Ravenwood for three seasons. Last year, he served as defensive backs coach at Ensworth.

Lawrence County boys basketball — Joseph Wilson
Lawrence County hired Wilson, who spent the last 16 seasons as girls basketball coach at Winfield (Ala.), to succeed Shaen Clark. Wilson holds an overall record of 556-227 in Alabama with two final four appearances, three elite eight appearances and 13 regional championships — the equivalent to sectionals in Tennessee. He has 23 playoff appearances.

Independence boys basketball — Mark Wilkins
Jeff Parker initially served in an interim role atop the Eagles’ program after Doug Keil’s abrupt departure in February, before Independence hired Mark Wilkins, who played for his father, Mitch, at Henry County before graduating from Lipscomb University in 2012. Wilkins spent three seasons as an assistant at Beech — under current Williamson County Schools athletics director Darren Joines — prior to taking the position at South Gibson. In six seasons at the Medina, Tenn., school, he posted a 112-68 record, leading the Hornets to District 13-AA championships each of the last two years.

Independence girls basketball — Tony Hill
Former Centennial coach Tony Hill was hired in April to take over the program, which has been marred by inconsistency in the head coaching seat in recent years. Hill was most recently a member of the girls basketball coaching staff at Riverdale, and led Centennial to a four-year record of 55-48 from 2013-17, with the Lady Cougars posting their first winning record (18-8) in 2015-16 followed by a 19-win performance a year later. Two months later, Hill resigned to take over the girls program at Portland. He’s since spent a season at Huntland and the last two at Riverdale. Hill succeeds Mary Beth White, the Independence athletics director, who stepped in following Bryan Glasner’s suspension and subsequent resignation.

Summertown girls basketball — Jeremy Jean
Jeremy Jean was hired to succeed Catie Embrey at Summertown in May following Embrey’s resignation. After serving as an assistant at Lincoln County and at Franklin County — serving under current Summit coach John Wild in the latter stop — as well as at Motlow State, Jean went 254-125 with the Lady Rockets with four regular-season district championships, two district tourney titles, three region tournament crowns and one state quarterfinal appearance. Jean’s wife, Beth, played at Summertown and made successive state tourney visits in 2004, ’05 and ’06.

TSSAA recognizes prep multi-sport athletes

SM-Tn Sports

More than 3,400 Tennessee high school athletes participated in three or more TSSAA-sanctioned sports during the 2020-21 school year, with nearly 100 of those hailing from the Southern Middle Tennessee Sports coverage area.

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association recently recognized those athletes, providing schools with printable certificates for presentation to each of them.

“So many things have been put into a different perspective over the past year and a half due to the pandemic,” TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said. “School administrators and coaches continue to recognize that every opportunity a student-athlete has to compete in education-based athletics is invaluable.

“We continue to encourage coaches and administrators to allow student-athletes every opportunity to participate in the sports they desire to, whether that’s just one, or two, or three, or more.”

While the total number of TSSAA athletes from the just-completed school year was more than 75,000 – down from the reported 83,000-plus from the 2019-20 school year – those participating in three or more sports totaled 3,437 this year, an increase of 401 from last year’s 3,036.

“Our athletic programs do not exist to serve college sports programs,” Childress said, “but it is worth reminding coaches and parents that college recruiters are looking for students that display a great attitude, work ethic and leadership qualities.

“Those are traits that you develop through participating in a variety of activities.”

Of the 14 athletic programs in the SM-Tn Sports coverage area, 13 had at least one three-sport athlete. Columbia Academy, with 14, led the way.

Eight athletes, including Zion Christian’s Madison Hayes, Becca Hazard and Dillan Runions, participated in four sports; so did Mt. Pleasant’s Baleigh Gray, Santa Fe’s Elise Adkison and Josh Martin, Summertown’s Hailey Jones and Summit’s Veronika Whitten.

The full list of area three-sport (or more) athletes, based on eligibility reports submitted by each school for each sport, follows:

Columbia Acad.: Anna Claire Butt — Cross Country, Soccer, Tennis; Drew Butt — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Hallie Butterfield – Basketball, Tennis, Volleyball; Kennedy Chatman — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Tori Duval — Bowling, Softball, Volleyball; Andrew Fleming — Bowling, Soccer, Track and Field; Jaelyn Hickerson — Basketball, Cross Country, Track and Field; Collins Malone — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Gavin Morgan — Basketball, Cross Country, Track and Field; Hayden Morgan — Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer; Ian Pulse — Bowling, Football, Soccer; Ian Pulse — Bowling, Football, Soccer; Parker Shirley — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Averi Slaughter — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Nathan Thomas — Football, Tennis, Track and Field

Columbia Central: Justin Buchmann — Basketball, Football, Track and Field

Culleoka: Maci McKennon — Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball

Hampshire: Craig Delk — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Errette Delk — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Kadence Stoner — Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball

Independence: Chaise Bethmann — Basketball, Soccer, Tennis

Lawrence Co.: Sam Bradley — Baseball, Football, Wrestling; Carley Fields — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; T.J. Gobble — Baseball, Basketball, Tennis; Andrew Honn — Cross Country, Soccer, Track and Field; M’kala Kerr — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Luke Mattox — Baseball, Basketball, Golf; Emily Moore — Bowling, Golf, Tennis; Luke Nichols — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Madison Tidwell — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Loretto: Emily Cozart — Basketball, Soccer, Softball; Carter Daniel — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Shelby Fisher — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Savannah Qualman — Cross Country, Soccer, Tennis; Clint Seymore — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Carlee Urban — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

Mt. Pleasant: Chris Andrews — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Gracie Boyd — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Demarkus Brown — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Keevan Cooper — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Baleigh Gray — Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball; Ben Hirsch — Baseball, Cross Country, Track and Field; Hayden Holt — Baseball, Basketball, Golf; Landen Manning — Cross Country, Tennis, Track and Field

Santa Fe: Elise Adkison — Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball; Chloe Anderson — Basketball, Cross Country, Softball; Josh Martin — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Golf; Lexi McEwen — Basketball, Bowling, Softball; Terralyn Pemberton — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Bowman Ruch — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Aniston Slaughter — Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball; Shane West — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; Logan Wilkins — Baseball, Basketball, Golf

Spring Hill: Kevin Caraballo — Cross Country, Track and Field, Wrestling; Kat Carter — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Kemonta Fry — Football, Track and Field, Wrestling; Nicolette Harper — Bowling, Softball; Dakota Jackson — Cross Country, Soccer, Wrestling; Wesley Jones — Basketball, Cross Country, Track and Field; Tyson Peters — Cross Country, Football, Soccer; Elijah Smith — Football, Golf, Soccer

Summertown: Isaac Barker — Basketball, Cross Country, Tennis; Kaley Campbell — Basketball, Golf, Softball; Mia Dinwiddie — Basketball, Cross Country, Volleyball; Harrison Gobble — Baseball, Basketball, Golf; Hailey Jones — Basketball, Cross Country, Softball, Volleyball; Weston Pigg — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country; McKenzie Runnels — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Skyler Trousdale — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country

Summit: Ben Bawcum — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Elijah Castro-Harris — Cross Country, Football, Soccer; Ryan Crane — Cross Country, Football, Soccer; Garet Dean — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Jadon Hickman — Basketball, Football, Track and Field; Tre Hunter — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Claudette Runk — Basketball, Golf, Softball; Graham Schneider — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Sam Sloan — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Veronika Whitten — Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Track and Field

Zion Chr.: Halle Adcox — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball; Max Brown — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Becca Hazard — Basketball, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball; Madison Hayes — Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball; Jackson Hughes — Baseball, Basketball, Golf; Jaron Keyser — Baseball, Basketball, Football; Zachary Knowles — Basketball, Football, Soccer; Connor Matheny — Basketball, Football, Soccer; Emily Mesko — Basketball, Soccer, Softball; Wesley Riggins — Basketball, Football, Soccer; Dillan Runions — Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football; Peyton White — Basketball, Softball, Volleyball

All-District performers for 10-A announced

SM-Tn Sports

District 10-A baseball coaches recently announced their all-district selections. The following players were recognized:

Culleoka – Peyton Adams, Carson Lovell; Hampshire – Errette Delk, Blake Morrow; Mt. Pleasant – Ryan Clark, Hayden Holt, Ben Newland, Gavin Whitehead; Richland – Herlan Duran, Sam Edwards, Austin Schrengost, Rob Turner; Santa Fe – Josh Martin, Carter Seltz, Colton Steward, Peyton Wilhelm.

Most Valuable Players – Jase Derryberry, Landon Griggs, Richland.

District 10-A softball All-District team announced

SM-Tn Sports

At the conclusion of the District 10-A softball tournament finals where Richland completed the season sweep with an 11-1 win over Mt. Pleasant, tournament host coach Misti Grooms announced the coaches votes for All-District.

Culleoka’s Alex Skinner and Richland’s Deanna Smith shared co-MVP honors, while Richland’s Brooklyn Reed was named the district’s Pitcher of the Year.

All-District Team: Allie Garner, Richland; Madelyn Woodard, Santa Fe; Baleigh Gray, Mt. Pleasant; Kylie Thomas, Culleoka; Gray Teegaarden, Richland; Sophie Rettinger, Mt. Pleasant; Tyler Reischman, Culleoka; Rachel Rich, Richland; Ashlynn Kelley, Santa Fe; Katie Thomason, Mt. Pleasant; Brooklyn Reed, Richland; Lexie McEwen, Santa Fe; Kylie Brewer, Mt. Pleasant.