Allyson Bowers

Sequoyah head girls basketball coach Allyson Bowers speaks with her team during a timeout last season.

Taking and leaving jobs seems to go hand-in-hand with coaching.

While some coaches stay at the same school for most, or all, of their careers, many move around. They take other jobs in order to move up the ladder, to get better pay or to put their families in a better position.

Each offseason, the coaching carousel sees coaches get promoted, resign or fill other positions. It can bring just as much drama as the actual sports they coach do.

Such drama hasn’t been found in Monroe County lately, though. While openings have been created and filled in the region, no jobs in the county have come open yet.

That’s a big deal considering what the previous carousel entailed. All three county head football coaches, Sweetwater’s Mike Martin, Tellico Plains’ Jon Rechtorovic and Sequoyah’s Ryan Bolinger, were hired last offseason.

Martin was already at SHS, serving as assistant principal and athletic director before taking on the coaching role. Rechtorovic and Bolinger were hired from outside the county.

Monroe County’s basketball coaches have stayed put, too. Sequoyah’s Andy Pennington, Tellico’s David Tucker and Sweetwater’s Jeremy Henderson all recently finished their second seasons with their respective boys teams.

County girls basketball coaches are just as entrenched. Gary Tucker has built a dynasty out of the Lady Bears in his 40-plus years there, while Sweetwater’s Heather Jaramillo and Sequoyah’s Allyson Bowers have shown no signs of leaving their programs, either.

“As far as next year, I’ve got a huge group of juniors right now getting ready to be seniors,” Bowers said at the end of last season. “So the future’s bright. Got a group coming from the middle schools to start a foundation in our JV sector.

“Nowhere to go but up.”

And the story is the same for the county’s baseball and softball coaches. Tellico’s Heath Ware and Sequoyah’s Josh Monhollen continue to build their baseball programs, while Travis Watson was hired last year by Sweetwater.

Sharon McKinnon at Tellico, Sarah Davies at Sweetwater and Allen Roberts at Sequoyah are already tenured softball coaches, and all have found too much success at their respective schools to be easily tempted by other coaching offers.

The local coaches have so far bucked the trend that has overtaken the coaching scene recently. Multiple jobs have been opened and filled in the area around Monroe County.

One of the biggest moves was Loudon girls basketball coach Josh Brannon, a Sequoyah alum, taking the head boys coach job at Lenoir City, vacated by former Sweetwater boys coach Brent Burns. Brannon was replaced by outside-hire John Hii at Loudon.

Lenoir City’s athletic department has seen more changes than that, too. Head football coach Jeff Cortez and assistant Chris Brittain were named the school’s new co-athletic directors, and Panthers head baseball coach Dusty Langley was relieved of his duties earlier this month.

Shane Belcher was recently named the new head boys basketball coach at Greenback, filling the vacancy left when Bryan Powers stepped down in March.

In neighboring McMinn County, McMinn Central is still looking for replacements for Doug Armstrong, who is retiring after serving as the Chargers’ head boys basketball coach, head golf coach and athletic director.

“And we are trying to organize those (applications and resumes), look through those, so that hopefully when things maybe turn for a little better, we’re able to be as efficient as possible in this process,” McMinn Central Principal Jeff Gilbert told The Daily Post-Athenian.

“Because with the COVID-19, it’s really put everybody in every profession in almost a standstill or a very, very slow crawl.”

Despite that slow crawl, though, the area coaching carousel has been overly active.

Just not in Monroe County.

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Tyler Wombles is sports editor of The Advocate & Democrat.

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