|Whitby services of value to Pilots |
|Posted: Friday, October 8, 2010 4:34 pm |
|Turns out, Jimmy Whitby will coach again. |
Whitby, the Obion County basketball icon who led the OCCHS Rebels to the school’s only state championship in 1985-86, has agreed to serve as a “volunteer” coach with the Fulton County boys’ program this coming season.
The 65-year-old Whitby will be returning to his coaching roots, having directed both the Pilot basketball and football program in his first coaching gig back in the early 1970s in the first of his six head coach stops.
His future FCHS duties have been largely undefined by Athletic Director Stephen Spadafino and head boys coach Andrew Clinton, other than “we just want to draw upon his experience and will be happy with whatever he can give us as a mentor,” according to Clinton.
Whitby will not be paid for his services, according to all parties.
He will reportedly help at some, but not all practices, and aid Clinton — who begins his fourth season with the Pilots in December — at some but not all games.
“I just want to enjoy myself,” Whitby told The Messenger. “I’m not sure how much or how little I’ll do. I just still want to be around the game some, but on my terms.”
Whitby — who won more than 850 games and ranked among the state’s Top 10 coaches in wins — was essentially let go by Lake County last spring when the Falcons elected to bring back the husband/wife coaching tandem of David and Dawn Barger to coach the football and boys’ basketball teams in a package deal.
Whitby had averaged nearly 25 wins-per-season in his last seven years on the LC bench after taking the job in 2001.
Last year, the Falcons were eliminated by Union City in the region semifinals.
He built a cult-like following in Obion County where he directed the Rebels to 20-win seasons in 16 of his 19 years at OCCHS, compiling a 467-151 (.756) record, including three 30-victory campaigns and three trips in all to the state tournament.
Easily the most memorable moment in his storied time at Troy was when the Rebs — in a modern day version of Hoosiers — shocked nearly everyone by winning the Class 2A state championship in 1986 with Whitby’s eldest son, Cannon, averaging over 40 ppg and claiming Mr. Basketball honors.
Jimmy Whitby was suspended, reinstated, then ultimately resigned during a messy ending of his OCCHS tenure in July of 2001.
He accepted the LCHS job one day later.
Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the elder Whitby said his current health is good.