Demarco Moore, Sports Writer
As old man winter holds on for dear life, spring signals the start of another busy season of sports across the state of Tennessee.
And as the 16 baseball, softball, boys soccer, track and field and golf teams hit the field at Coffee County Central High School, Coffee County Middle School and Westwood Middle School, seven will be led by first or second-year head coaches.
The CCHS, CMS and WMS tennis and track teams will also benefit from a resurfaced track surrounding Carden-Jarrell Field and brand new tennis courts behind the Red Raiders Academy.
CCHS baseball coach David Martin begins year two ready looking for a faster start to the 2017 season from his team. The Red Raiders lost a lot in the way of seniors, but return a great deal of their lineup and pitching. Martin is open to competition for key starting spots on defense, which should produce quality to back starting pitching.
In year two, CCHS softball coach Steve Wilder has a loaded roster from top to bottom. Depth at every position, power hitting and a great pitching rotation should help the Lady Raiders repeat as regular season champions in District 8-AAA as well as help them push farther than the district tournament.
Brock Freeze has been a longtime coach at CCMS, but 2017 will be his first season taking over the baseball team. After sweeping White County and then being swept by Warren County, the Red Raiders started the season 2-2.
With the passing of CCHS coaching legend Phil Bonham, followed by Stan Jarrell moving on from coaching the Red Raider track and field team, first-year coach Nathan Wanuch has graciously accepted the responsibility of helping a historically prominent program continue to send runners to state. Wanuch has even raised the bar based off last season’s finish.
Dustin Hereford spent his first season under Josh Morris on the Westwood baseball team’s coaching staff. Now that Morris has stepped down, Herford – in his first season as head coach – and Herb Nugent have helped lead the Rockets to a 1-1 record thus far, including a 5-0 win over Cornersville on opening day.
Longtime Westwood softball coach Angela Houck stepped down, leaving the door open for first-year coach Amanda Sullivan to step in and implant her philosophy on a young team. The Lady Rockets began the season 1-1, with a 12-8 win over Fayetteville and a 2-1 loss to Cannon County.
Tiffany McCormick begins the 2017 in an unfamiliar role – head coach of the CCMS tennis team. With little experience, McCormick is ready to instill as many team values as possible on an otherwise individual sport.
With so many new faces at the helm, this season is sure to bring many surprises and learning experiences amongst Manchester’s student-athletes.
Look for full stories, quotes, team pictures, rosters and schedules in the spring sports guide located in the March 15 print edition of the Manchester Times.
Reach Demarco Moore at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @iam__demo