|Kennedy’s presence will lessen Bowling’s Union City load |
|Union City didn’t just hire a head football coach. |
It essentially signed up two.
New Tornado skipper Darren Bowling will bring with him right-hand man and former Fayette Academy head coach and athletic director Wes Kennedy to hopefully restore the proud tradition that once was synonymous with the Purple and Gold program.
And while the hiring of Bowling as the new face of the Purple and Gold grid fortunes was generally considered a significant landing for the Union City School System, the addition of Kennedy is, in fact, equally noteworthy.
The 40-year-old Kennedy brings to the table a resume that not only includes previous success during a 10-year head coaching career at FA and Millington, but also experience in administration as well as a glowing reputation in the classroom as a math teacher.
Football-wise, he is widely-regarded, not only for his intensity but his work as an offensive line coach — both shortcomings with the most recent Tornado teams.
It is that versatility and experience — as well as Kennedy’s fine character — that has UCHS Principal Barry Duncan calling the addition of the new Twister assistant coach “icing on the cake.”
“With Wes and Darren both, that’s about 25 years worth of successful head coaching experience and they’re both still in their coaching prime at just 40 years old,” Duncan said. “I believe when you put them with some of the youthful presence we’ll have on the remainder of our staff, it’ll be a great mix.
“Football aside, that Wes is an excellent math teacher gives us great flexibility in the classroom. His experience as an athletic director is obviously a plus, too, and I have no doubt he’ll be as good a school person as he is a football coach.”
The Bowling-Kennedy association is still relatively a new one with the two having spent just one season together this past year at Dyersburg. Before that, Kennedy was the head coa-ch and AD at Fayette Academy for nine years, with 72 wins and seven playoff berths during that time.
He spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Millington in his first job, then went 9-2 in his only year as the head coach there before leaving for FA.
Kennedy said he likely couldn’t work as an aide for anyone other than Bowling and said vanity was not an issue with the two in what often is an ego-driven business.
“Neither coach Bowling nor I care who gets the credit or the glory and, in fact, we’re always going to give it to the kids and put all the focus on them,” Kennedy said. “We not only have gained each other’s trust over this past year but are truly friends, too. We have a mutual respect for one another.”
He also said the obvious passion that Duncan regularly displays in his position for both the UC school system and a particular past experience with the Tornado football community were factors in his decision to come with Bowling to Union City.
“Coach Duncan was one of the selling points for me,” Kennedy claimed. “His passion for all that is Union City and the school system is amazing. Everything he does is for the betterment of the Union City School System and the community and his life is centered around that and his family. You don’t see that type of passion with every administrator.
“And I remember when we brought a team up here in 2005 for a second round playoff game when I was at Fayette Academy. We were out-talented and out-sized, but our kids played with heart and left it all on the field even though we were beaten by Union City 6-0. When we came off the field, the people of Union City were standing around the fence and they were so complimentary of our kids because of how hard they played.
“That meant a lot to me because of how they recognized the effort and heart of our team and how they played the game.”
For his part, Bowling is thrilled to have his close cohort join him at UCHS and said the implementation of his schemes and philosophy along the program’s community presence would be made considerably easier with Kennedy at his side.
“No coach wants to make a transition like this alone, and being able to bring in Coach Kennedy is a great bonus,” Bowling claimed. “I know he’s loyal and he and I work so well together.
“I’ll tell you something else about Wes Kennedy, too. He has great character. He’s about family and doing the right thing. He’ll be great for our program at Union City.”
Kennedy and wife Teca have three children, Halle (11), Tucker (8) and Hayden (2).
Sports editor Mike Hutchens can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.