Thursday, June 14, 2007
Veteran coaches lead Ashland
By BARRY BURLESON
Ashland basketball teams will benefit from a combined 65 years of coaching experience.
Jessie Terry is giving up the girls job after several years and will coach just the Blue Devils. Taking over the helm of the Lady Devils is Guyton Wilkerson.
Both had their teams at Marshall Academy last week for summer league competition. The Oxford boys also participated.
“It’s tough nowadays to coach both teams,” said Terry, who will enter his 32nd year of coaching. “I needed the help, and he (Wilkerson) was already here at the school teaching driver’s ed and he wanted to get back in it.”
All but eight of Terry’s years of coaching have been at Ashland.
Wilkerson, starting his 33rd season of coaching, had been away from the game for a year due to the sickness of his mother. She passed away in September 2006.
“I missed it badly last year,” he said. “I was about to go crazy, and Coach Terry knew I wanted to get back in it.”
Wilkerson has coached in McNairy County, Tenn, Jumpertown (twice), Walnut and Hickory Flat (twice). He led the Jumpertown boys to the state tournament semi-finals in 1983 and the Hickory Flat girls to state in 2000. His latest stint of coaching the Lady Rebels came in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons after retiring from Jumpertown and returning to his native Benton County.
The two veteran coaches have mixed emotions about the full summer slate of basketball games.
“I like it, but we may be playing too many games,” said Terry. “Our schedule is loaded through the month of June.
“The kids enjoy it. It keeps them busy in the summer month, and no doubt it helps them.”
Terry is working a young team. He lost four starters plus his sixth man to graduation.
“Hopefully, these summer games will help us gain some much-needed experience,” he said.
Coach Wilkerson said the summer schedule is “a good thing.”
“But I’m not sure it’s good for me at this point,” he said. “I don’t know them real well at this point, and we really just need some practice time.”
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