It’s been a year of change for many of the sports programs at Middlesboro High School and with the start of the school year just around the corner a few key positions have yet to be filled.
The changes started back in the spring when Zach Massengill replaced Randy Frazier as the Yellow Jackets’ head football coach. Then athletic director Bill Jones stepped down to take over as the new principal at Middlesboro Middle School. Early in the summer the Lady Jacket basketball team lost both head coach Elgie Green and assistant Debbie Green when Debbie left to take over the girls’ program at Harlan County. Just last week boys’ basketball coach Russell Thompson resigned to take a new position as assistant principal at Pineville.
Middlesboro superintendent Steve Martin said he expects to name new athletic directors for both the high school and middle school by next week and that the basketball coaching positions should be filled soon after that.
“We’re actually changing the role of athletic director a little bit. The high school and middle school will have two separate ADs,” Martin said. “We’re looking for someone who cares about the kids and understands the processes involved in scheduling, keeping up with KHSAA regulations and dealing with the financial responsibilities and needs of all of our sports programs.”
Martin added that Thompson’s recent departure was an unexpected move that caught the district off guard.
“Coach Thompson did a very good job here at MHS. He worked hard with our young people and I wish him and his family all the best in Pineville,” he said. “Mr. (Pineville superintendent Terry) Hayes got himself a good man as a principal and athletic director.”
Middlesboro principal Bobby Bennett has been reviewing applications for the girls basketball coaching position and Martin said he would form a committee once a new athletic director has been named to select the final candidates for that spot. The school has also started taking applications for the boys’ position but that job has only been open for a week.
In the meantime, former assistant and middle school boys’ coach Scott Overbay has served as the interim girls’ coach during the summer which has allowed the girls to practice and get some summer games under their belt.
For both basketball positions, Martin said he’d like to find coaches who can help student-athletes develop both on and off the court.
“We’re looking for someone with a lot of energy who is willing to work with our young folks and help those student-athletes develop not only good basketball skills but also help them develop into good young men and women that are ready to succeed in life,” Martin said. “That’s what’s most important to me about what our sports programs can do for our young people.”