When Hixson girls basketball coach Matt Smith moved to town from Atlanta five years ago, he was almost dumbfounded by what he didn’t find.
“I was shocked there were no coach’s clinics in Chattanooga,” Smith said. “I decided that in the next few years I would host a clinic so coaches wouldn’t have to drive to Atlanta, Nashville or Knoxville to attend a clinic.”
Smith and Hixson will host the Southeastern Tennessee Basketball Coaches Clinic on Sept. 20.
“We scheduled the clinic for that day because Tennessee doesn’t have a football game,” said Smith, referring to the tremendous draw the Vols have across the state. “Right now we’ve had great feedback from coaches in the immediate area, North Georgia and Knoxville areas.
“I really don’t have a clue what to expect, but I would love to see 75 to a 100 coaches turn out. I’ve contacted every school from Whitfield County (Ga.) to Knoxville and schools east and west of Chattanooga, even some small colleges. We will have six sessions on one day that will cover a variety of topics.”
Smith started the organizing aspects for the clinic in the spring trying to line up coaches to speak at the clinic. One of his first calls went to new Tennessee-Chattanooga men’s coach Will Wade, the 2014 Southern Conference Coach of the Year. Then Smith went for UTC women’s Hall of Famer Jim Foster, who has 27 NCAA tournament appearances to his credit.
Both are among the featured speakers.
In quick order Smith added Tommy Brown and Marty Rowe, Lee University’s men’s and women’s coaches to the lineup.
Rounding out the list of instructors are Rick Torbett, former high school coach in Chattanooga and Atlanta and now the president of the Better Basketball Academy based in Laurel, Md., and Tim Rice, former coach and president of Basketball Mentoring in Austin, Texas.
“Lining up the instructors was much easier than I thought it would be,” Smith said. “I reached out for more than six coaches, but the six I really wanted came through right away. They were great about donating their time for the one day and giving back to our community and basketball coaches here in the Chattanooga area.”
Smith said the instruction won’t be limited to classroom lectures. There will be live on-court demonstrations for each session as well.
“The last clinic I attended in Atlanta was for two and a half days over an entire weekend,” Smith said. “Most coaches have families and having a one-day clinic still gives them a day with family. That’s a big thing for coaches.”
Cost for the clinic is $55 and includes lunch and door prizes. Smith said the clinic is set up for all levels coaching from middle school to college. Payments can be mailed to Smith at Hixson High school, 5705 Middle Valley Road, Hixson, TN 37343 or paid the morning of the clinic.
The clinic will run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
For more information contact Smith at Smith_Matth@hcde.org.
(E-mail Larry Fleming at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @larryfleming44)