Tag Archives: high school basketball

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.”

Fortenberry to fortify Spring Hill girls hoops

By Maurice Patton

Hurricane Katrina took place nearly 16 years ago, but the catastrophic event that wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast in August 2005 has recently helped settle the Spring Hill coaching staff.

Wayne Fortenberry, who won three Mississippi high school basketball state championships over a career that spanned more than 30 years, has been named to replace Matt Horton atop the Lady Raider program.

“He’s got quite a pedigree,” Spring Hill athletics director John Farmer said. “His résumé is really impressive when you look at it. He taught and coached, but he was also a school administrator down in Mississippi for many, many years. He coached both boys and girls, but the majority of his career has been coaching girls.”

Fortenberry’s daughter and son-in-law – Dee Dee and Mark Montgomery – lost their Gulfport home as a result of Katrina, prompting them to move their family to Middle Tennessee.

“My daughter’s an only child, so when they moved up, we began to plan to, as soon as we retired, move up,” said Fortenberry, who officially retired as an administrator in the Biloxi, Miss., school system in 2014 after stepping away from coaching four years previously.

It was after he and his wife, Karen, arrived in south Williamson County, however, that Fortenberry picked up his third Mississippi title. With Pearl High School girls basketball coach Lacey Kennedy, a member of the United States Army Reserve, deployed to Qatar in November 2018 for 10 months, he helped Jason Kennedy lead the Jackson-area program to the 2019 Class 6A championship.

“Lacey, I’ve known from when she was playing high school and college basketball. Her husband and I are real good friends,” Fortenberry said. “She called me and said ‘the season’s getting ready to start in a few days and I’m being deployed for 10 months, can you come help me out?’ I told her, anything I can do, I’ll do.”

For the length of the season, Fortenberry commuted – staying during the week, returning home after Friday night games – helped with the Kennedys two sons and provided support on the bench as the Lady Pirates went 31-1.

“It was a great experience, but it was rough,” he said. “They asked me to stay (the following year), but I had to get back and see my grandkids play.”

The episode was emblematic of a career that also includes 1984 boys and girls state crowns at Hattiesburg Prep, in addition to stops at West Lauderdale near Meridian, Purvis and St. Martin in Ocean Springs.

“Like my wife said, I’m going to die somewhere in a gymnasium,” the 66-year-old said. “I don’t care who’s playing, I’m there watching.”

Among the teams he’s watched over the past few years were the Lady Raiders, who went 17-11 and clinched a Region 6-AAA tournament berth in Horton’s fourth and final season. Under Horton, who resigned in late June to take the boys basketball coaching position at Mt. Pleasant, Spring Hill posted its first winning finish in 18 years.

“I’d gotten to following Spring Hill and several other teams in the area,” Fortenberry said. “I met some of the kids. … I enjoyed watching Spring Hill play. When it opened up, I said, let’s give it a shot and see what happens.”

Fortenberry, whose grandson is Independence sophomore guard Jett Montgomery, will serve on a non-faculty basis at Spring Hill.

“It’s not ideal,” Farmer said. “Ideally, you’d like to have a coach in the building. It’s difficult sometimes to find the (teaching) certifications you need for the positions you need to fill, that can also coach. Sometimes you have to go the non-faculty coach route.”

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.”

Ex-Central girls coach joins staff at Hillsboro

By Maurice Patton

Former Columbia Central girls basketball coach Joshua Bugg has joined the staff at Hillsboro, veteran Lady Burros coach Cherish Stringfield confirmed Friday.

The news of Bugg’s hiring comes one day after the announcement of Megan Moore as his successor at Central.

“I’m thrilled to have Josh join the staff,” Stringfield said regarding Bugg, who led the Lady Lions to an 18-12 record last season and the program’s first region tournament appearance since 2012 prior to his March dismissal. “I think he’s going to bring some valuable experience from his time at Columbia Central. I know he loves the game and he pushes the kids to be better.

“One of the areas I’m looking for him to come in and make an immediate impact in is player development. That’s something he’s really good at, something he’s looking forward to.”

Bugg, 33-72 in four seasons at Central after stints as an assistant at Riverdale and Independence, replaces Jessica Mooney – a Hillsboro graduate who, like Stringfield, played collegiately at Vanderbilt – following her move to join the coaching staff at Belmont University. He will serve as junior varsity head coach and a varsity assistant.

Along with longtime Lady Burro assistant Missy Humphrey, the Hillsboro staff now includes three with head coaching experience.

“For me, I look at it as a blessing,” Stringfield said. “It’s another person that understands all the caveats that go with running a program. There will be some things I don’t have to teach Josh, so to speak. I’m looking forward to learning about Josh and his coaching style, seeing how we can plug him in to fill the needs we have.

“(Humphrey) and I have been working together for eight years. We’ve won championships, we’ve sent 13 kids to college (via basketball scholarships). I just want to get back to the top, get back to grinding, and I actually think Josh is going to be a great addition for that push I need and that we’re looking for, especially going back into ‘WilCo’.”

In 10 seasons at Hillsboro after beginning her career with a three-year stint at Centennial, Stringfield has led the Lady Burros to more than 150 wins with three district tournament championships and three region tourney semifinal berths.

Hillsboro moves to District 11-AAAA for the upcoming season, along with Brentwood, Centennial, Franklin and Overton. Those five will join Columbia Central, Summit, Independence, Nolensville and Ravenwood from District 12-AAAA to form Region 6-AAAA.

Attempts to reach Bugg for comment were unsuccessful.

Local product takes over Columbia Central girls hoops

By Maurice Patton

Megan Moore is home.

Sort of.

The former Spring Hill basketball standout, a two-sport collegiate athlete who established her hardwood coaching career with a couple of Williamson County stops, was announced Thursday as the new girls coach at Columbia Central.

“I’m from Maury County, so … coming back was something I always wanted to do,” the former Megan Anderson said. “I feel like there’s always a time you’re led and I feel like this is it.”

Moore’s hiring fills a vacancy created with the March 5 dismissal of Joshua Bugg, who in his fourth season at the Lady Lions helm led the team to its first Region 4-AAA tournament berth in eight years. Since then, Central principal Roger White was suspended and subsequently reassigned, with Kevin Eady succeeding him officially on July 1.

Former Summit girls basketball assistant Megan Moore (right, with head coach Josh Goodwin and assistant Kari Goodwin during a 2016 game) was named Thursday to replace Joshua Bugg as girls coach at Columbia Central. (Charles Pulliam / Williamson Herald)

With prior assistant coaching assignments at Summit and Centennial as well as assistant athletics director duties at the latter, Eady selected Moore over five other finalists for the position.

“She has a plan already in mind for not only this year. She has a plan for the future and working with our younger programs,” Eady said of the 35-year-old Moore. “She has a complete and thorough knowledge of the game.

“She’s a player’s dream as a coach because of the energy she brings. She brings that intensity. She’s been in the game as a player on the youth level, the high school level and the college level, she went right into coaching, and she has coached not just girls but boys basketball at the high school level.”

Moore worked as an assistant to Centennial boys coach Pete Froedden during the 2018-19 season, helping the Cougars to the third of three consecutive Region 6-AAA tourney berths.

“I’ve known (Moore) since my days at Lipscomb,” Froedden said. “She was a student at Austin Peay. They came over and worked camps and I always thought, if I ever get a chance to hire her, I’d hire her in a second. She commanded the attention of every kid – boy, girl, didn’t matter. Just the passion. She’s got ‘it’.

“Her specialty, what she’s best at, is connecting with kids. They want to play for her.”

Though she’s been off the floor for the past couple of seasons, Moore is surprisingly familiar with the Lady Lions that return from last year’s 18-12 finish and looks forward to working with them.

“The guards are good. We’re very guard-heavy. There’s not a lot of height,” she said. “Being able to watch the girls, they are very coachable and very driven. They want to be good. I’ve watched them grow over the past four or five years — knowing what (the program) was four or five years ago – especially this upperclass, with what they’ve been through and what they’ve turned the program into.

“You can tell the ethic is there. They’re fearless, they’re ready to compete. I think they’re excited to go into a new district and compete in that district.”

Along with the bulk of last year’s roster moving into District 12-AAAA, Moore will also have the majority of last season’s coaching staff. Carden Virgo and Megan Kilburn, who served as assistants under Bugg, will continue in those roles, Moore said.

“Carden and Megan have done a phenomenal job to go four months without a (head) coach,” Moore said. “Knowing they were pretty much stepping in as ‘interims’, they ran a program just as if they were the head coaches, with there being uncertainty. Their love for the kids is unmatched because they didn’t have to do what they did, but they gave those kids everything a stated head coach would have done.

“To go in and consider not having them wasn’t even on my mind. They’ve been there, they love those kids obviously. I haven’t even given it a thought, not having them, because I need them.”

With Moore’s hiring, as well as the appointments of Whitney Kovach and Milton Nettles as assistant principals, Eady’s focus turns to the softball coaching position that was filled this season on an interim basis by Hannah Cole following the January resignation of Shelby Burchell Tietgens.

“We got a couple of names over the week, some people that might be interested,” Eady said. “We will be getting in contact with them.”

Girls basketball coaching vacancies remain at Culleoka and at Spring Hill.

Megan Moore named Columbia Central girls hoops coach

SM-Tn Sports

Megan Moore has been named the Columbia Central head girls’ basketball coach, principal Kevin Eady confirmed Thursday.

The Spring Hill graduate, Moore, most recently was an assistant for Centennial’s boys basketball team and previously worked at Ravenwood and Summit.

“Megan is a very talented young coach I have known for many years,” Eady said. “She’s active in travel basketball in Williamson County and has worked at multiple schools.

“She has a wealth of knowledge and tenacity and intensity in herself to lead others to join her. On top of that, she is a great English teacher.”

Former coach Joshua Bugg was dismissed on March 5.