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Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015

Johnson: Central welcomes five new coaches

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

School's back in session and the fall sports schedule for the most part is right around the corner.

With that said, perhaps two of the busiest people over the summer were Shelbyville Central principal Don Embry and athletic director Jimmy Williams.

During the summer they've hired five new coaches. Embry told me he had to fill 14 total faculty positions.

Over the past few years there hasn't been a lot of turnover within the coaching staff at SCHS.

From left, Jeff Mitchell, Jack Harlow, Kerry Thompson and Chris Wilkins are now part of Shelbyville Central's braintrust. Not pictured is Ray Rich.
(T-G Photo by Danny Parker)
Sure, we remember back to the end of the last school year when Golden Eaglette coach Rick Insell became the new women's basketball coach at Middle Tennessee State University and Lynn Burkey was hired as his replacement.

That's when the floodgates opened for Embry and Williams.

Over the summer, a new softball head coach, assistant girls and boys basketball coaches and two new assistant football coaches have joined the Shelbyville athletic department.

Ray Rich was recently named head coach of the Eaglette fast pitch team. He replaces Janice Morey, who took the same position at Oakland High in Murfreesboro.

Rich, a member of Insell's staff for the past five years, who coached men's basketball with Jimmy Earle at MTSU years ago, brings a ton of experience and knowledge to the diamond. He's been associated with fast pitch softball as a player or coach for over 50 years.

He would like to see the Shelbyville fast pitch program become as successful as the Eaglette basketball program and believes one can compliment the other.

During school hours Rich will have study hall duties. He has a number of big plans for the softball program at Shelbyville, including upgrading the facilities.

How involved is Rich and softball? When I was interviewing him on the phone for this column, he was at the Men's Fast Pitch World Series in Wisconsin.

A name that everyone associated with the Eaglette basketball program knows, Jack Harlow, has joined Burkey's staff.

Harlow brings 32 years of coaching experience to one of the most impressive girls basketball coaching staffs in the country. The staff of Burkey, LaBora McCroskey and Harlow combine for over 70 years of coaching experience.

Harlow graduated from Giles County High, attended Martin College, graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin and later received his master's from MTSU.

He was also an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

His coaching career started at North Junior High in Franklin County. He later was named head coach at Franklin County High. From there he went to Columbia Central. He retired last year from Bradley County.

Over those years, he posted an unbelievable 564-224 record as a head coach.

Jeff Mitchell has been hired as an assistant coach, joining coach Kevin Thomas and the Golden Eagle basketball team. He replaces Jason Hardy, who accepted a football coaching position at Gallatin High.

Mitchell, originally from Indiana, has been the head boys basketball coach at Harris Middle the past five years.

While at Harris, he developed one of the most successful middle school programs in this area. His knowledge of the game and discipline will be a great asset to Thomas and the Golden Eagles. He's also a great math teacher in the classroom.

Kerry Thompson returns back home to help Whit Taylor and the Golden Eagle football team.

Many of you might remember Thompson as an outstanding athlete (football/baseball/basketball) for SCHS before he graduated back in 1970.

In college, he played baseball for four years and graduated from Jacksonville State University in Alabama.

Thompson was a teacher, assistant principal and coach in Lineville, Ala., for 10 years. While there, he was the football offensive coordinator and baseball coach.

He retired from the Alabama school system after coaching 17 years in Arab, Ala., where he coached baseball, football and golf. He will teach social studies at Shelbyville.

Chris Wilkins is also joining Taylor's staff.

Wilkins comes to Shelbyville from his native Texas. He will serve as an assistant to the boys basketball team as well. He will teach Economics.

He played basketball in college and has coached basketball, football and track over the past seven years in Texas.

Embry said when seeking an assistant coach, he always includes the input from the head coach as well.

It's also a big plus when they are great in the classroom.

They have the opportunity to make a great impact on many more students in the classroom.

That's something former teacher and coach Embry knows first hand.

Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer who covers Shelbyville athletics. Comments: gjohnson@t-g.com.

Gary Johnson
Point by Point

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