Dess Culpepper has spent a large part of his basketball career in Monroe County.
Now, he’s leaving the area for a new opportunity.
Culpepper, a Sweetwater High School assistant basketball coach and former Hiwassee College player, has accepted a position as a graduate assistant with the Bryan College men’s basketball program. He announced the news on his Twitter account.
“To all my family, friends, and Sweetwater family I’m proud to announce that I am going to Bryan College as a graduate assistant,” Culpepper wrote in a tweet. “I am going to get my Masters degree during this process.”
The Warner Robins, Georgia, native was a key player for Hiwassee during his time there, culminating his career with his senior season in 2017-2018.
He then joined the Sweetwater boys basketball staff as an assistant coach, aiding first-year head coach Jeremy Henderson in a breakout 2018-2019 season for the Wildcats. Sweetwater finished with a 28-3 overall record and made it to the Region 3-AA semifinals.
“It is sad that I have to leave all these great people and players,” Culpepper wrote, “but this job (is) the best opportunity for me and my family (and) also will help me further my career as a coach. Thanks for everything (including) the love (and) support #wildcatnation.”
Graduate assistant positions are often taken by young coaches, typically ones interested in coaching at the college level, looking to move up in their field. It allows them the opportunity to work on a college staff while also completing a graduate-level degree and making valuable connections with other college coaches.
Many graduate assistants move on to fill positions as full-time assistant coaches on college staffs.
Bryan College is located in Dayton, Tennessee; its athletic programs compete in the NAIA. The Lions finished last season with a 15-15 record. Head coach Don Rekoske has been with the program for 15 years.