CROSSVILLE — Crossville High School will have new head coaches in five varsity sports for the 2019-20 school year.
The DeKalb County Board of Education approved CHS Principal Jon Peppers’ recommendations for the head coaches, as well as some assistant coaching assignments, during its May 22 and June 10 board meetings in Rainsville.
Varsity girls basketball
Jesse Martin is taking over the varsity girls program, succeeding Jay Shankles.
Shankles resigned as varsity girls basketball coach and varsity softball coach to accept a teaching position at Douglas Middle School. He will coach the DMS seventh and eighth grade girls basketball teams and will also serve as the Eagles’ varsity boys and girls golf coach.
Martin’s wife, Molly, will assist him and continue to serve as Crossville’s junior varsity girls basketball coach.
“When we brought him on last year, Jesse is one I thought in the future could be somebody we could put into a head-coaching position if something became available,” Peppers said.
“Good Christian background, good values and we’ll have him and Molly both run the program together. They want to build it up to a Spring Garden-type program, to where they get down into the youth program and start building it up and try to get it back to where it used to be.”
Ricky Austin is varsity girls head coach and his wife, Dana, assists him at Class 1A power Spring Garden.
“Macy Smith, who played here for me, was hired as a fifth grade teacher at Crossville Middle School and will be junior high girls basketball coach,” Peppers said. “She’ll probably help a little bit with the varsity teams as well.
“Macy played at Snead, loves the game of basketball and I think she’s going to be a good asset for the younger kids.
“They’re [girls basketball coaches] going to kind of run the same system that I ran here, and they’re [Molly Williamson and Smith] very familiar with the way that runs.”
Varsity girls softball
Molly Martin served as Shankles’ assistant coach for softball in 2019, but she didn’t want to succeed him.
Peppers offered the job to James York, who accepted and will teach history at CHS.
“Coach York is coming from Verbena High School,” Peppers said. “He coached there a couple of years and won a couple area championships.
“He’s originally from this area. I want to say he’s from the Albertville area. He was home-schooled and went to Beth Haven. His wife graduated from Fyffe and she just got a job at Guntersville, and he was trying to get back closer to home too.”
Peppers also hired Shelly Clark, who had served as Etowah’s junior varsity softball coach.
“Coach Clark played ball at Glencoe High School,” Peppers said. “She played some basketball with Coach [John] Blackwell and was a pitcher for four years on the Glencoe softball team. Adding her to the softball staff is going to give somebody who has some pitching background to work with our younger kids.”
Peppers promoted Ariel Johnson to head volleyball coach. Johnson has been serving as the Lions’ assistant coach.
Peppers offered Johnson the head coaching job last year but she declined. Wesley Ikard took the job, but the DeKalb County Board of Education nonrenewed his contract in May.
“When it became available this year, Ariel decided she wanted to give it a go,” Peppers said. “I think she’s going to do a good job. She comes from that Cristie Brothers’ background at Geraldine. Ariel knows what it takes to develop a program.
“Right now we’re just trying to find her some help, because as it stands, she has no junior high coach or JV coach. We’re going to work on trying to get her some help.”
Jesse Martin stepped down after serving as Crossville’s head baseball coach in 2019. Peppers promoted CHS assistant coach Ian Richards to succeed Martin.
“I wasn’t as familiar with Ian because he’s from Plainview, and his dad is the principal at Plainview High School,” Peppers said.
“As I got to know Ian throughout the year, Ian has bought into our school and does a great job with our kids. He loves coaching baseball, and I think he’s going to be a really good asset for our baseball program.
“For Ian, baseball is his forte. He loves the game of baseball. He helps Coach [Dusty] Darnell with football and does a great job.
“Last year, we got coaches Brian Pool and Ian Richards at the middle school in PE.
“Just in that one year, we went from having about 25 to 30 seventh and eighth graders playing football to, if I’m not mistaken, we’ve got about 30 seventh graders and 30 eighth graders for next year . They’ve went out and gotten the kids involved at the middle school level.”
Varsity boys soccer
Will Brock resigned as varsity boys soccer coach.
Former Geraldine football star Michael Davis is transferring from Sylvania to succeed him and will also be an assistant football coach.
“As of Thursday, I named Michael Davis as PE teacher and soccer coach,” Peppers said.
“Michael is a good character guy who relates well to the kids. He’s done a good job at Sylvania the last few years with football. I got to witness his girls soccer team he had up there this year, and they beat us two times.
“He is just going to be a valuable asset with our soccer program. He wants to take us to the next level.”
Davis coached both the boys and girls soccer teams at Sylvania. His 2019 girls squad lost in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A-3A state playoffs.
New assistant coaches
Samuel Tidmore, a Guntersville High School graduate, will be Crossville’s new junior varsity boys basketball coach and junior varsity boys soccer coach.
Brock stepped down as JV boys basketball coach and will serve as the Lions’ junior high boys basketball coach this season.
“Coach Tidmore is coming from Munford Middle School, where he was junior high boys basketball coach,” Peppers said. “He started the soccer program at Munford.”
Jonathan McGill will teach math and serve as an assistant football coach. He comes to Crossville from Sylvania.
“I was very impressed with Coach McGill in his interview. He’s super intelligent,” Peppers said.
“Tidmore almost went into the seminary, and Jonathan McGill is a music minister. Michael Davis is a good character, good Christian guy. James York is the same way, a good Christian guy who I think has done some youth ministry as well.
“We’re putting the right people in there with our students. I feel like these are hires that are going to help our students in the long run.”