Lions’ grid search stays in-house

Lions’ grid search stays in-house
Messenger Sports Editor
Keith Hodge was told three years ago he stood a good chance of being Dresden’s next head football coach some day.
That day was Friday.
Principal Check West confirmed what most everyone expected over the weekend, announcing Hodge had officially been elevated to the Lions’ head coaching position from that of an assistant.
Hodge was the obvious choice for the post after being hired as Dresden’s offensive coordinator prior to the 2009 season. He was an integral part of the Black and Gold going from a winless season the year before he arrived to a combined 24 victories over the last three years that included an unprecedented run to the Class 2A state championship game this past December.
He replaces veteran DHS school man Scott Hewett, who had publicly endorsed Hodge for the position after announcing early in the 2011 campaign that he would give up his coaching duties at the end of the season due to increased demands as an administrator.
Hewett served two different stints as Dresden’s football coach.
The 30-year-old Hodge — a Bruceton native — said the seed was planted for the time when he might have the opportunity in be in charge of the Lion gridiron fortunes during an interview for a job as Hewett’s assistant after he’d served a short tenure as an aide in McMinn County.
“He (Hewett) told me he wasn’t going to coach much longer and that I would probably be in line for the head coaching job if I’d come and be an assistant for him first,” Hodge told The Weakley County Press. “Even though I really didn’t think a whole lot about it, it was something I remembered from time to time.
“I know a lot of people just naturally assumed this would happen after the last three years, but I still had to look at it and see if it was for me and my family. I obviously wanted to talk it over with my wife (Ashley). We prayed about it, and she told me she wanted me to take it.
“It was pretty easy decision after that.”
Dresden principal Chuck West admitted that essentially no one else other than Hodge was considered for the position.
“He was our first and only choice,” West said. “He’s done an excellent job as an offensive coordinator and as an assistant coach and he’s been in charge of a lot of things already that falls under the responsibility of a head coach.”
Though he had no official “head-coach-in-waiting” title, Hodge was given a great deal of freedom to scheme and run the Lion offense as he saw fit the past three years.
He proved worthy of Hewett’s confidence liberty by directing a versatile and well-balanced attack to 30 or more points 10 times in Dresden’s 12-3 2011 season that was culminated by an appearance in the double-A BlueCross Bowl.
Published in The Messenger 1.10.12

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