Thursday, June 18, 2009
Horton hired to lead Cards
By BARRY BURLESON
Coach Matt Horton anticipates success at Potts Camp High School.
He was recently hired to lead the boys basketball program, and he likes what he sees in the talent pool.
“If you don’t succeed here, it’s your fault, especially getting to do the junior high, too, and bringing the kids up through your system,” Horton said.
“Honestly, I think this position is one, where if you do things right, you have a chance to win a state championship.
“I’ve coached several places and I believe they’ve been better off when I left than when I took the jobs. But I’ve never had the talent where I thought I could win a state championship. I believe we have that here, and that’s why I came.”
Horton, 40, is starting his 14th year of coaching. He comes to Potts Camp from DeSoto Central where he was the head girls coach for three years. Prior to that, he was assistant women’s coach at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., for one year and head boys coach at Collinwood High School (Tenn.) for two years. He also led the boys program at Gleason (Tenn.) and was freshman coach and varsity assistant at Fayette-Ware in Memphis.
He is a graduate of Harding Academy in Searcy, Ark., Harding University (undergraduate work) and Freed-Hardeman University (master’s degree).
He realizes he is stepping into a district where basketball is outstanding.
“If you survive the district race, you’ve got a chance (at state),” Horton said.
Next season, in new alignment, Potts Camp will be competing in District 2-1A with H.W. Byers, Ingomar, Myrtle, West Union and Blue Mountain.
“There are so many good schools in this district,” he said. “You can’t win district every year, but you can be competitive. You can’t go to Jackson every year and win 25-30 games a year, but you should be close to 20 every year.”
Horton was busy last week putting his junior varsity and varsity players through some summer workouts.
“Things are going well,” he said. “Once we learn my system, we will be fine. The kids have been showing up and doing everything I’ve asked.”
Horton said his system is a bit more structured than “run and gun.”
“These kids have a lot of natural ability, but it’s also important that everyone on the team knows their roles,” he said.
He replaced Brian Smith, who led the Cardinals for three seasons. There’s a good crop of returning players.
“We have a good nucleus to start with,” Horton said. “I can’t wait until the season.”
He will get an early look at his team in the Myrtle Team Camp next week.
“I’m not sure what to expect, but it will be nice to go there and see them play against somebody else,” Horton said.
He will also be an assistant football coach under new head coach Shane Stone. Potts Camp is organizing a first-ever football team.
“I really look forward to working with Coach Stone,” Horton said. “I have a lot of respect form him.”
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