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, OCTOBER 19 Father Ryan at Baylor Bradley at William Blount Brainerd at Tyner Central at Hixson Notre Dame at Chattanooga Christian Cleveland at Ooltewah East Hamilton at Anderson Co. East Ridge at Howard Grace at Mt. Juliet Christian Sunbright at Lookout Valley Loudon at Marion ... (click for more)

Dalton State's Rijos Tied For Individual Lead, Team Tied For Fifth Overall

Mother nature would play a role in the NAIA National Championship Preview at Lincoln Park Golf Club in Oklahoma City, Ok., on Monday, forcing the cancellation of the morning round and shortening the tournament from 54-holes to 36-holes. Even with the schedule change, #3 Dalton State would stay in the hunt posting a team total of (+21, 309) and sits in a tie with fellow SSAC member ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport Has Biggest Month Yet; Work May Start Next Year On Parking Deck With 1,300 Spaces

The Chattanooga Airport set a record in September with 44,000 enplanements, the highest ever for one month. This was an increase of nine percent over September 2017, and deplanements were in line, said Terry Hart president and CEO. He said that more parking is needed near the terminal to keep up with the growth. The 20-year master plan includes a parking deck with around 1,300 ... (click for more)

Firefighters Climb 150 Feet To Extinguish Fire At Ardent Mills

Chattanooga firefighters had to climb 150 feet to extinguish a fire at a flour mill off Amnicola Highway on Monday morning. A call came in at  7:35 a.m. for the  fire at 1 Riverside Lane. Ardent Mills reported smoke in the building and all employees were evacuated. Fire crews arriving on the scene could see light smoke coming from a vent on the upper half ... (click for more)

Why Are Joda Thongnopnua And Phil Bredesen Downplaying Their Democratic Values?

For the past several months, the Democratic Party has reached a tipping point. “Their Resistance” is to oppose anything and everything Republicans are doing to deliver a stronger economy and better economic opportunities for all Americans.  Yet, I find it very interesting that the public outcry we are seeing from the Democrats on a national level is nowhere to be found when ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Tennessee Week’

For over 50 years I have heard the line, “There are two things you must never do on ‘The Third Saturday of October.’ You mustn’t ever marry and try not to die because, in either case, the preacher won’t show up.” He’ll be watching “The Game.” Ever since Oct 18, 1901, Tennessee and Alabama have been going at it and that inaugural game set the tone as well as the standard for all ... (click for more)