New Lions’ coach not named, yet
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:02 pm
COOKEVILLE — Chuck West wouldn’t say who would be Dresden’s next head football coach.
What the principal did confirm, though, gave a good indication.
With speculation regarding the replacement for Scott Hewett centering around offensive coordinator Keith Hodge, West chose his words carefully when addressing the issue in the aftermath of the Lions’ 34-0 Class 2A BlueCross Bowl state championship game loss to Friendship Christian School Saturday.
“We’ll certainly be looking within (the system) first when we begin that process,” West told The Press.
The DHS administrator, who indicated he’d like to have a new head coach in place in early January, said he was unsure of the legalities of having to publicly post the position if the school indeed chose Hewett’s successor from someone already on staff.
West said, as of now, there would be no teaching openings at Dresden for next year, meaning that Hewett’s successor would either have to come from within or be a non-faculty coach.
West’s thoughts and impressions of Hodge — the youngest of family siblings, with brother Chad serving as the Lions’ defensive coordinator the past two seasons — perhaps gave a deeper insight as to the principal’s plans.
“Obviously, if Keith’s interested in us, we’re interested in him,” West said. “I think both he and Chad are two great men of character who have a vast knowledge of the game and great passion for football and the program at Dresden.
“I’ve been very happy with them on staff.”
Keith, six years the junior of the coaching Hodge boys, has served as an assistant at DHS the past three years with Dresden going 7-4, 9-3 and 12-3 during those seasons while running a spread offense that features a good balance between the run and pass. The Lions had gone winless the season before his arrival on staff and were shut out in six of their 10 losses.
Chad has been the Lions’ defensive coordinator the last two campaigns in a non-faculty position as he teaches at Henry County High School and was previously an assistant coach there under Joe Gaddis.
Asked to gauge his interest in becoming a head coach for the first time, the younger Hodge — who also has been an aide at McMinn County — said he has indeed already pondered the thought.
“I am interested. It will boil down to me sitting down and talking to my family and determining if it’s in our best interest and mine personally for me to apply,” he said. “I do love being at Dresden.”
Keith got a ringing endorsement from Hewett, who said he might be open to an “limited assistant or advisory role” while spending most of his future time with the assistant principal’s duties that forced him to give up the program’s head coaching reins after 16 years in the business during two separate stints at the school.
“It should be Keith. He’s ready,” Hewett said Saturday.
“And they need to keep Chad, too. They work so well together and are the perfect complement to each other. They need to stay together.”
The younger Hodge and fellow assistant Gary Gomes will run the Lions’ offseason program until a replacement for Hewett is officially named, according to West.
The new coach will have to replace 10 seniors but has five offensive starters and six defensive starters returning.
The 2011 Lions’ roster included 12 juniors. Published in The WCP 12.6.11