On Thursday, Falkner baseball coach Chip Johnson, an ordained minister, announced he is leaving coaching after 12 years, while just up the road at Walnut, girls basketball coach Larry Tribble said he is stepping away after 25 seasons on the sidelines in Alabama and Mississippi.
Johnson, who spent the last four years at Falkner, also coached basketball coach for 11 seasons. After leading the Eagles back to the playoffs for the first time in seven years, he gave up basketball duties following the 2010-11 season. Johnson made head coaching stops at Walnut, Pine Grove, Center Hill and Tishomingo County.
He took over Falkner’s baseball program in 2010 and guided the them to the 2011 Class 1A North State Title. They finished 18-17 after falling to Nanih Waiya in the 1A state finals
Johnson said he informed his team now, despite games remaining to put the focus back on baseball. The Eagles (12-9, 5-4 in 1-1A) can return to the playoffs with wins over their final three games.
“It wasn’t a two-week decision. It was tough, but I didn’t want to be a distraction,” said Johnson who will not coach the 1A/2A/3A squad in Crossroads All-Star game slated for June 2.
“It’s tough to leave the kids, but you have to do what God says,” he said.
Following his best season in 20 years as a head coach, Larry Tribble is putting the clip board away. The Lady Wildcats finished 26-9 this season and made the MHSAA Class 2A State Tournament for the first time since 1997. They upset then No. 1 Taylorsville before falling to New Site in the title game.
He compiled a 73-85 record over his last six seasons at Walnut.
Tribble coached 15 years in his home state of Alabama, where he collected over 260 wins in 11 seasons at West Limestone High School. He came to Mississippi in 2003, coaching at Pascagoula High School for two seasons before making the trek to Walnut.
Tribble, who will be 61 in May says he will have plenty to do with a daughter living in Dyersburg, Tenn. and an 82-year old mother in Anniston, Alabama.
“It’s been fun and I really enjoyed it,” said Tribble,who was recently voted Tippah County Girls Coach of the Year by his peers. “I want to move closer to my 3-year old granddaughter and be able to check on my mother.”