Press ‘reorganizes’ sports department

Press ‘reorganizes’ sports department

A reorganization of The Weakley County Press sports department will mean some new — though not unfamiliar — faces and names to the newspaper. 

Longtime Union City Messenger Sports Editor Mike Hutchens will coordinate the sports coverage of Weakley County teams and the University of Tennessee at Martin while continuing his duties at the Press sister publication in Union City. 

Kenneth Coker, a Weakley County native who has worked at both The Press and The Messenger and has spent the past four years with Hutchens at the Union City office, will retain those responsibilities while also being the point person for Weakley County sports. 

With a number of crossover games between Weakley County and Obion County teams, the change will allow the resources at both papers to be utilized more efficiently, according to Weakley County Press general manager Lynette Wagster. 

“In these difficult economic times, we’re always looking for ways to best utilize all of our resources at both The Press and The Messenger,” she said. “We often have events and competitions that pit Weakley County and Obion County teams against each other and think we can be both cost-efficient and provide high-quality coverage by somewhat consolidating our two sports departments. 

“Mike’s track record in the newspaper and overall media business speaks for itself. I believe that under his leadership — and with Kenneth’s special interest in his native county — we can both inform and entertain the Press’ readership. We’ll continue to use some part-time personnel in addition to Mike and Kenneth, and we look forward to the positive impact this restructuring will make.” 

Hutchens, who is completing his 28th year at The Messenger, has overseen a department there that has won more than 175 writing, design and photography awards in various competitions during his tenure. With many contacts and personal relationships developed with Weakley County coaches already, he is hopeful that being an often-seen figure at sporting events in the various communities will make for a smooth transition. 

“Weakley Countians love their sports and their teams as I’ve witnessed over the years, and I believe that Kenneth and I can provide extensive, fair and accurate coverage for readers of The Press,” he said. “Kenneth certainly has a passion for an area where he was born and raised, and I’m certain that will be evident in his efforts.” 

Coker will be in The Press office several afternoons a week, with Hutchens also available there on a regular basis for those with questions and input on how to improve the sports department product. 

The Press sports department plans to continue to utilize the talents of Press reporter Sara Rachels and part-timers, along with award-winning photographer David Fuzzell.

“We’re confident that we will put together a top-notch sports section on a weekly basis that Weakley County readers deserve and one they will enjoy,” added Hutchens, while requesting patience of readers while the changes are implemented.

Contact The Press Sports department by email at

wcp 3/22/11

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