By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Katie Bates, the Daily Journal’s 2013 Coach of the Year in girls basketball, is leaving Ripley to coach at Pine Grove,her high school alma mater.
“Pine Grove has a rich tradition, they’re hungry to win and they’re coming off a really good season,” Bates said.
Bates, 31, posted a 142-49 record in six years at Ripley and directed the Lady Tigers to five consecutive 20-win seasons, four state tournament berths and a Class 3A state championship in 2011. Her 2012-13 team finished 29-5, including a win against No. 1-ranked Southaven, and reached the state tournament semifinals.
“Ripley was my first job,” Bates said. “I appreciate all the support I had, but I needed a change. I hate it for the girls. They can do great things; they can keep it going.”
She replaces Chris Parman, who is expected to be named Biggersville’s new girls coach, pending board approval.
Biggersville’s former coach, Cassie Farris, is the new girls coach at Saltillo. She replaced Eddie Moreland, who retired.
• Matt Waldrop is changing jobs, but not counties. The former South Pontotoc girls coach has replaced Shane Montgomery, who retired, at North Pontotoc.
“I’m really excited,” said Waldrop, who coached 12 years at South Pontotoc. “We’ve got a young group with some promising kids.”
Shane Hayles, the boys coach at South Pontotoc, is expected to coach boys and girls next season.
• J.C. Hayles, a former Myrtle and South Panola assistant, has been named girls coach at Hickory Flat. He replaced Alisha Pickens, who accepted a position in DeSoto County.
Hayles played high school basketball at South Pontotoc and Blue Mountain College.
“He is ready to be a head coach and we are excited to have him as part of the Rebel family,” said Hickory Flat principal Barry Goolsby.
• David Baldwin, who coached Southaven’s girls to the 6A state championship game, is the new boys coach at Thrasher.
“Northeast Mississippi is basketball country,” said Baldwin, who coached seven years ago at West Union. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 6A or 1A, it’s all basketball. The goal is always to get to Jackson.”
Jason Allen, who coached girls last season at J.Z. George, will be Thrasher’s girls coach.
• Thrasher’s former boys coach, Mitch Howell, is expected to be named Alcorn Central’s boys coach, pending board approval. He replaces Brandon Quinn, who will remain as athletics director.