Wednesday, June 20, 2012
- by B.B. Branton
Former Soddy Daisy state wrestling champion Jim Higgins has been hired as the school's new head wrestling coach.
Higgins, 32, replaces hall of fame coach Steve Henry who announced his retirement last month and is the school's new athletic director.
"I am thrilled and ecstatic to be given this opportunity as head wrestling coach," said Higgins who has served the past two seasons as a Trojan assistant coach.
"I am proud and humbled to be able to return to my alma mater as a teacher and head coach and look forward to the challenges and opportunities to work with the young men in our wrestling program.
A multi-sport athlete at Soddy Daisy in the mid-1990s, Higgins lettered in wrestling (4), baseball (4) and football (2).
He holds a degree in parks and recreation from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (2005) and also played college baseball at Cleveland State Community College and Carson-Newman prior to transferring to UTC.
"This is a year of transition for me and my wife, Staci, as she is due with our second child in mid-December and now I go from assistant coach to head coach for one of the top wrestling program's in the state," Higgins stated.
Higgins wrestled for coach Henry, won three region titles and was an undefeated state champion in 1998.
"Jim is the right man for the position and I know that he will do a great job as head coach," stated Henry who coached Soddy Daisy to three state duals titles (2002-07-12), three state traditional titles (2006-07-12) and a girls' state duals championship (2008).
"He knows the sport, works hard to improve his coaching skills and his knowledge of wrestling."
Higgins on Coach Henry: "Coach Henry has been a life mentor as well as a wrestling mentor to me and many others ... I hope I can follow in his footsteps and be a life coach to the Soddy Daisy wrestlers and not just a leader on the mat ... Coach Henry has the great ability to instill in others the passion to be the best one can be as they pursue their careers as a coach."
"I lost my dad when I was 21 and it was real tough on me and my family ... I really believe that the life lessons of toughness, grit, determination and never giving up that Coach Henry and the sport as a whole taught me, got me through those tough times right after my dad died."
Jim Higgins ... Age: 32 ... wife, Staci ... 3-year-old son, Fisher ... 10 varsity letters at Soddy Daisy HS ... wrestling (4), baseball (4), football (2) ... region wrestling champion (3) ... undefeated state champion (1998) ... degree in parks and recreation from Tennessee at Chattanooga (2005) ... Cleveland State ... all-conference in baseball, captain and two-year starter ... Carson-Newman ... all-conference in baseball, captain and two-year starter.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com