E.A. Sports Today

Ohatchee, PV add coaches

Indians bring aboard Lipscomb to coach wrestling; PV gives girls basketball post to Hood

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Casey Lipscomb is getting ready for his first season as a wrestling coach and it’s been an eye-opener.

The former Ashville baseball coach is the new wrestling coach at Ohatchee. He admits he hasn’t had much experience in wrestling, but is on a fast learning curve.

He replaces Matt Sweatman, who left the program he started to run the program at Bob Jones. His Indians finished second in this past season’s Calhoun County Tournament, second in the state sectionals and fifth in the state.

“I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to take over that program,” Lipscomb said. “Going in ranked No. 5 in the state out of 1A-5A, that’s a pretty big honor for a small school, especially since this will be their fourth year.

“I’m looking forward to getting in there and trying to do our best and maybe bring home the state championship.”

The Oxford native has coached around wrestling people, but his background his baseball. He was an assistant baseball coach at Cleburne County right after graduating Jacksonville State and was Ashville’s head coach the last two seasons.

He said he has been leaning heavily on assistant Eric Lee, a highly regarded wrestling club coach in Anniston, as he gets established on the mat.

“They needed a special education teacher who could coach,” Lipscomb said. “I stepped up and said I’d be willing to learn; anything I could do.

“I’m just going in with a very open mind trying to learn as much as possible before the season starts.”

Pleasant Valley, meanwhile, has filled its girls basketball vacancy with Brad Hood. He replaces Jeremy Wallace, who left a team on the rise for professional advancement as an assistant principal in Alexandria.

Like Lipscomb, Hood is entering some new territory of sorts.

He has coached basketball for 15 years, but this will be his first foray into coaching girls basketball. He was the head coach of a competitive Raiders boys team for three years before his players’ lack of passion eventually sapped his enthusiasm.

He wasn’t looking for a basketball job when PV principal Mark Proper gave him something to think about upon Wallace’s departure and had “many’ offers to coach it in the past, but was “having so much fun” coaching track and cross country to pursue any of them.

He revisited his position after receiving “a ton” of parental and player support. Besides, the program was quite healthy.

“I like that group of girls,” Hood said. “They’ve got an excellent work ethic and anytime you’ve got kids who want to work you’ll have fun and be successful. Work ethic is the hardest thing to instill in somebody; it’s tough. I just saw how their work ethic and competitiveness was and said it was the right time to coach basketball again.”

Hood’s first team returns most of the main pieces from a 17-11 season that shared an area title and reached the semifinals of the Calhoun County Girls Tournament.

“It’s, to me, the best job at the school right now,” he said. “(Wallace) was starting to build it in the right direction. I hope I can just finish it up.”

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