Sports Editor Will Hammock
High school head coaching changes happen pretty regularly, for a variety of reasons, and we write plenty of those type of stories throughout the year.
Sometimes the resigning coach wants more family time. Sometimes he or she needs to pursue a master’s degree. Sometimes the coach is asked to step down.
For all those stories, we rarely write ones about Brookwood head coaches leaving.
That’s why it was unique that we recently had two of them — the Broncos’ head girls basketball coach Scott Terry and head fastpitch softball coach Bill Batchelor both resigned from their longtime roles. Terry had led the girls basketball program for 13 years, the same amount of time that Batchelor coached the Brookwood softball program to 343 wins. Batchelor also spent three seasons before that as a Broncos assistant.
It’s hard to fault either on their choices. Terry wants to finish his career, now in its 25th year, without the burden of coaching duties. Batchelor took the job as Grayson’s head coach so he can work with his two softball-playing daughters, a rising junior and a rising freshman for the Rams. It beats having to coach against them, as Batchelor had to do the past two seasons with his oldest daughter, Carley, when the Broncos played Grayson.
Mark Kimbro, Brookwood’s athletic director since 2006, will have to fill those substantial voids in the near future. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to do it often.
Head football coach Mark Crews, and several of his assistants, have been at Brookwood since the late 1980s. Rick Howard has been head baseball coach since 2004, first coming to the school as an assistant in 1995. Greg Puckett has been swimming and diving coach since 1994.
Not every Brookwood head coach sticks with it that long, but most tend to have fairly long tenures. Even when coaches do step down, they often do what Terry plans — continue teaching at Brookwood. Previous head boys basketball coach Craig Witmer did the same a few years back.
The long-running tenures by Brookwood head coaches tell us a few things. One, it’s a great place to coach. Two, it’s a great place to teach. What happens in the classroom, and teachers’ satisfaction in that role, is more important to staying in one place for a long time.
Kudos to Mark Kimbro for keeping his coaches content in the sports arena, and ditto for Brookwood’s administration for providing an ideal environment on the academic side. It’s been a proven formula for the Broncos’ consistent successes in both arenas.
I look forward to seeing who is hired for the open softball and basketball positions. No matter who is hired, it’s safe to say they’ll probably stay for awhile.
Will Hammock can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.