Tag Archives: Maury County Public Schools

Zion Christian tabs Boyd to succeed Fox as new AD

By Maurice Patton

It may not be overstatement to call Derek Boyd a godsend for Rick Jarvis and Zion Christian Academy.

Following Tommy Fox’s resignation last month as athletics director, boys basketball coach and softball coach to accept the AD position at Wayne Christian School in Goldsboro, N.C., the search for his successor resulted in Boyd’s hiring this week.

“I just finished my first year at Zion, my first year in the community,” Jarvis said. “I recognize the value of having someone that’s been in the community a long time.

“(Fox) is a big loss, big shoes to fill. … Having Derek express interest answered a lot of prayers for us and for me particularly.”

Boyd, a Mt. Pleasant native who spent 20 seasons as boys basketball coach at his alma mater before retiring at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, has had two children attend Zion – Sam, who graduated this spring after completing his basketball career, and Claire, who will be a freshman this fall and plays volleyball and softball.

“When Tommy announced he was leaving – I’d been contacted several years ago about that job, and I didn’t think I was ready,” the 51-year-old said. “I had a conversation (this time) with Mr. Jarvis and the committee, they expressed some interest, and I also had some interest in what they had to say.

“I thought it was a good fit for me, good timing for me. It’s a new challenge, an administrative role. I felt it might could be a good fit for both parties.”

Boyd, who has continued coaching at both Mt. Pleasant Middle School (boys basketball) and at the high school (cross country, track and field), will possibly have some coaching duties at Zion as they still have boys basketball, girls basketball and softball openings.

“Philosophically, I’d prefer to not have the AD do any coaching,” Jarvis said. “But the first year, the first couple of years, he will most likely end up doing something in the boys basketball program.”

Focusing on his new role will be Boyd’s primary point of concentration, though.

“It’s going to be a challenge to build on what Tommy had left and hopefully take our program to a higher level, even though we know we’re competing in a very difficult division with many great schools already,” he said.

“I felt like this was a great opportunity. It’s something I’ve prayed about and thought about a long time. The parents, the kids, the administration at Mt. Pleasant have been very supportive of me, but going to Zion is almost like a calling. I feel like I’m being guided that way – like if I didn’t take the opportunity, I may regret it later.”

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by e-mail at mopattonsports@gmail.com or on Twitter at @mopatton_sports.

Athletics important to MCPS director finalists

By Maurice Patton

After narrowing down the field of potential replacements for Chris Marczak as director of Maury County Public Schools to three, the finalists – Mickey Hall, Michael Hickman and Aimee Wyatt – each recently visited Columbia.

While in town, they each took part in a question-and-answer session with members of the community, facilitated by the Maury County Education Association, at Columbia Central.

Southern Middle Tennessee Sports was on hand to discuss their athletic backgrounds and their views on   the importance of athletics to the overall educational experience, particularly as it relates to high schools.

With the MCPS board meeting Monday and expected to possibly announce a decision, here are the comments from the three candidates.

Mickey Hall (deputy director/chief financial officer, Wilson County Schools): “(Athletics) not just in high school are very important. Athletics keeps kids in school; band keeps kids in school; arts keep kids in school. I grew up playing sports, I’ve been a coach, in baseball and AAU (basketball). My son and daughter have experienced the state tournament. … Those extracurricular activities keep a lot of kids in school.

Mickey Hall (left)

“(Regarding county equity) That’s a two-headed sword. You can do a self-audit, at the district level. At the district level, they’ll appraise each of your schools. But you’ve got to be willing to live with the consequences. I’ve been through two (Office of Civil Rights, a sub-agency of the U.S. Department of Education) investigations in our district. When they come in, they do not care who you are; they care that … the female athletes have the same opportunities as the male athletes, that they have the same number of locker rooms for both male and female. If you’ve got a weight room that’s labeled ‘football’, you’re in violation of OCR right now. If it’s a weight room and it’s scheduled for all athletes, you’re OK. They’re going to look at how you advertise your program, if there’s as many female pictures as male pictures. A self-audit can be done, but you have to be willing to live with the consequences and either take away or add to.”

Michael Hickman

Michael Hickman (principal, Mt. Juliet Elementary School): “Obviously I played sports. … I coached basketball and baseball at the middle school level. ‘The importance of sports’ – you gotta be careful. I’m going to talk about sports, activities; all of these are very important. There are some students that, they’re coming to school for sports. That ‘mentor’ is their coach. It keeps them pushing in school. For some kids, that’s their only outlet. But it goes to the clubs, some of the other after-school programs. Kids need to belong to something. I’ve told many parents in my career, ‘make sure your kids joins a club, a sport, something after school’. They want to belong. If they can’t find something, they’re going to find something on their own and it’s probably not going to be something you’d want them to be a part of. It’s integral – the different leaderships, all the qualities it can lead to. You don’t want to leave out or make clubs and all these other things we do any less (than athletics), because it’s all the same for what it can give to kids. The extra education, the extra mentors, it’s huge.”

Aimee Wyatt

Aimee Wyatt (director of state and district partnerships, Southern Regional Education Board): “Athletics and extracurricular activities are important to me. We’ve been a part of a research study where we put all the students’ (grade-point averages) down, we put down how many activities they were involved in, and there’s almost an exact correlation between the GPA of the student and the number of clubs, organizations, athletics that they’re in. Arts, athletics, anything you do outside of school is experiential learning. It helps with socialization, it helps with being a better citizen, and that all goes into making you a well-rounded student. … You also want to make sure we have something for everybody at some school. We’ve got to make sure we find as many things to float their boat. My one son wasn’t an athlete, but he was in chess club. My other son was a baseball player.

“(Regarding gender equity) So there’s a short-term plan and a long-term plan. You have to devise what the ideal situation looks like and map out how we get there, and in the meantime you have to look at alternatives, scheduling, play, so that they still get the same services. It’s not OK that they don’t have the same quality. So how does that look? What facilities can we look at or share or maneuver schedules so that can happen until we can get the adequate facility that is equal to the other facilities around?”

Columbia Central football coach Jason Hoath, who was in the audience for each of the three forums, expressed optimism regarding the candidates and the support he’d expect from them.

“I think if you ask any coach, we’d always want more,” Hoath said. “But you notice all three of the candidates said something along the same lines: Athletics, as well as clubs, different things students are involved with are important and encouraged.

“I guess the hope is that we can be able to compete with the counties around us as far as facilities and things of that nature – what’s going to entice people living in Middle Tennessee, what’s going to make us stand out from other counties. In the coaching world, that’s always going to be facilities. Wins and losses play in that, too. If you’re going to place a child in a school system, academics are going to be No. 1, but if they’re involved in athletics or other activities, what does this school have to offer, as opposed to one county over? Those are things I would look at – what’s the program like, what are the facilities like?

“Hopefully we’ll have that support and as we enter this new era, it’ll be good on all ends.”

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by e-mail at mopattonsports@gmail.com or on Twitter at @mopatton_sports.

Sunday Review: A look back at this week’s stories

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Below are excerpts from each story we posted this week. Take a look to see what you missed! Be sure to sign up for our free email subscription to get every story directly in your inbox.

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Make sure to watch our for our podcast to drop on Monday afternoon. Maurice and Chris will be joined by former Univ. of Tennessee hoops star and current Culleoka resident Vincent Yarbrough.

This week’s stories


High school coaches in Maury County now know when they will be able to begin summer workouts with their athletes, and the COVID-19 parameters within which those workouts can take place. How many athletes they will have to work with looms as the sticking point. … Continue reading 


With Aedan Turner leading the way, 60 athletes from Maury County were recently recognized by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association for participating in three or more TSSAA-sanctioned sports during the 2019-20 school year. … Continue reading


Landon Guidry was poised to participate in a potentially career-turning spring practice before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, limiting him to Zoom meetings and solo workouts from a distance. Instead, the former Independence standout will look to make an impression on the new coaching staff at Mississippi State … Continue reading 


Coaches across the area rejoiced recently, as local school systems announced their plans to open their doors once again to students. Williamson County Schools announced online Wednesday it would open on June 1 … Continue reading 


Former Shelbyville Central head football coach Justin Palmer was officially announced on Wednesday, May 27, as the new offensive coordinator at Summit, joining Brian Coleman’s staff … Continue Reading


SM-Tn Sports The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association recently distributed a pair of documents related to the restart of activities under COVID-19 guidelines to its membership, as programs begin offseason preparation for the fall sports seasons. Continue reading