Jim Higgins Selected Soddy-Daisy's New Baseball Coach

Will Coach Trojans On Field Named For His Late Father

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 - by Larry Fleming
Jim Higgins
Jim Higgins

There is no escaping the contribution the Higgins family has made to Soddy-Daisy athletics.

The baseball field is named after the late Tom Higgins and now his son, Jim, is taking over the Trojans’ baseball program, succeeding Jared Hensley, who in the past year has become the school’s assistant principal, in addition to his duties as athletic director after 10 years and 200-plus wins as baseball coach.

Jim Higgins, for the past six years the Trojans’ head wrestling coach, on Tuesday was officially named baseball coach and his first assignment is to oversee tryouts coming up May 29-30 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day.

“I’ve got big shoes to fill because coach Hensley had more than 200 wins over 10 years and that’s a lot of success,” Higgins said. “I want to build upon the traditions already in place with the program and established by coach Hensley and Steve Garland. In style of play, I will coach aggressively and I want my guys to play aggressively. It’s going to be fast-paced baseball that’s fundamentally sound.”

Higgins, 38, is leaving his position as head wrestling coach and Brad Laxton will take over the program. Higgins said he will continue his association with wrestling, but not as a paid assistant. He also pointed out that veteran wrestling assistant Ashley Brooks is retiring.

“My two sons are growing up in the wrestling program and I’ve been tied to it for 30 years,” Higgins said. “That won’t change. Wrestling is why the Higgins family came to Soddy-Daisy. My parents picked up everything we had and moved here because of the respect they had for Steve Henry (now the high school principal).

“Once wrestling is in your blood, it doesn’t go away.”

In his final season as baseball coach, Hensley led the Trojans to a 20-14 record. The Trojans’ season ended when Walker Valley won the best-of-three semifinal series two games to one in the District 5-3A tournament at Bradley Central.

“We’re excited about having Jim take over the baseball program,” Hensley said. “He did a tremendous job stepping in with wrestling. He’s always loved baseball and played four years in college. He has lots of ties with Soddy-Daisy and I felt like it would be a seamless transition from within our staff to have the baseball job, and he’s xxcited about the opportunity to take over the baseball program.”

When Hensley was promoted to assistant principal in December, speculation began  immediately inside the athletic department about who would fill the position Hensley was leaving. In late March and early April, Higgins said the “ball was in my court” and he decided to take the baseball reins.

“Baseball was always my primary choice,” Higgins said. “I’ve had a couple of years coaching baseball and enjoyed every bit of it. I always had the most fun with baseball and I aspired having my dad watch me play on television with the Atlanta Braves.

“Having my dad’s name on the scoreboard out there is a big reason behind what I’m doing. I’m interested in baseball; I’m drawn to the sport. There’s a spiritual side to it because I’m honoring my mother and dad. I think it’s going to be cool coming to the field and seeing my dad’s name on the scoreboard. My dad was an electrician and he always talked about wanting to see something come from nothing. He was always around baseball and involved with the program; and he was the best hitting coach I ever had.”

Higgins attended Soddy-Daisy and graduated in 1998. He played baseball, football and wrestled before leaving for Cleveland State to play baseball for two years. He transferred to Carson-Newman, playing baseball for two years at the Jefferson City university. Higgins finished his initial degree and obtained his teaching license at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Higgins was hired at Soddy-Daisy Middle School as an inclusion teacher and was an assistant on Henry’s high school wrestling staff. A year later, he was promoted to the high school when Henry was named assistant principal and became the Trojans’ head wrestling coach.

“I’m very excited, I love new challenges and always have,” Higgins said. “I like embracing change and trying new things. Now, it’s show time. I’ve had a couple of weeks to start the preparation work and get started. I want to express my gratitude to the administration for giving me the opportunity and I’m thrilled to serve the students here at Soddy-Daisy as baseball coach. A lot of exciting things are going on at Soddy-Daisy right now and it’s a cool time to be here right now.”

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)

 

 

 



PREP SCHEDULES

FOOTBALL     FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 Baylor at Knoxville Catholic Boyd-Buchanan at South Pittsburg Walker Valley at Bradley Brainerd at Rhea Co. Central at Red Bank Chattanooga Christian at Howard Bearden at Cleveland Hayesville N.C. at Copper Basin East Hamilton at Soddy Daisy Polk Co. at East Ridge Sale ... (click for more)

Outdoor Chattanooga’s Interscholastic Climbing League Seeks Student Climbers And Coaches

The 2018-2019 school year is back in session and Outdoor Chattanooga will once again partner with High Point Climbing Downtown, Riverside and Tennessee Bouldering Authority to offer middle and high school students the opportunity to participate in the Chattanooga area Interscholastic Climbing League. The ICL provides a competitive climbing program for middle and high school ... (click for more)

Female Inmate Dies At Bradley County Jail Monday

A female inmate was found unresponsive at the Bradley County Jail on Monday afternoon. Correctional officers and on-site medical personnel performed life saving measures, but she was later declared dead after Bradley County EMS arrived.  The inmate was 54-year-old Fawn Zanette Brandham. Correctional officers contacted the 12th Judicial District Attorney's office, ... (click for more)

Federal Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Family With Down Syndrome Child Who Sued County Schools

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of a couple with a Down syndrome child who sued the county schools. The parents of Luka Hyde objected when the county schools tried to move him from his zoned school to a segregated school. The ruling says under federal law that students with disabilities are supposed to be placed in the least restrictive ... (click for more)

Use Purse Building For Chattanooga Museum Of History And Industry

I was caught off-guard and pleasantly stoked by Eric Atkins' editorial on Chattanoogan.com last week suggesting that one of the soon-to-be surplused city buildings could be turned into a history museum.   I didn't think anyone other than myself that I didn't know cared, or at least would turn their thoughts into the topic of an editorial.  I believe that most of the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: One Person Every Hour

After the first weekend in August, the United States was shaken to its core as every major media outlet reported that 67 people had been shot in Chicago, 12 of them dead in the senseless carnage. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel pleaded for calm and announced an additional 600 police officers would join other law enforcement in the five most troubled districts. This past weekend, which ... (click for more)