WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ASSISTANT COACH WORTHY OF TSSAA HALL
MARTIN, Tenn. – Longtime rural West Tennessee girls’ basketball coaching legend and current UT Martin women’s basketball assistant coach David Russell is among 12 people who will be inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame.
Russell, who built his legacy at Bradford and Gibson County l, captured six state championships and won more than 950 games during his illustrious 35 years in the preps.
He took his teams to the state tournament an astounding 17 times.
“I’ve had a chance to look at that (Hall of Fame) list, and I’m humbled to be included on it,” Russell said.
“It’s obviously a tremendous honor, but one that belongs just as much to the kids I coaches as it does to me. No coach can win without good players, and I’ve had so many over the years. I hope I’ve had some positive effect on them. I’m certainly blessed.”
Russell, currently an assistant coach to Kevin McMillan with the UT Martin women’s program, began his high school coaching career at Medina. He then spent 21 seasons at Bradford and 11 at Gibson County, winning the last of his state titles in his final game as the Lady Pioneers’ skipper. He joined McMillan on the UTM bench before the 2010-11 season.
“I have great memories of everywhere I’ve coached and I’ve worked with some good people and administrators,” Russell said. “Medina, Bradford and Gibson County were all great basketball schools. “And I enjoy what I’m doing here now at UTM. There’s not as much stress in an assistant’s role, but I’m still around the game I love and can have an input.”
Other class members from West Tennessee include longtime Bolivar administrator Fred Kessler and Sammy Fisher, who coached at several schools.
Other inductees are: Johnny Grimes, administrator from Jasper; Dan Schlafer, administrator from Fairfield Glade; Wes Elrod, coach from Lebanon; Jack Harlow, coach from McMinnville; Sherry Hooks, coach from Kings-port; Dorris Armstrong, official from Nashville; Larry Hutchinson, official from Mountain City; Susan Williamson, official from Knoxville; and Mike and Karen Parker, contributors from Harrison.
The Hall of Fame luncheon will begin at 11 a.m. on April 20. The luncheon is to not only honor the new inductees and their families, but to honor all past inductees into the TSSAA Hall of Fame. Tickets will go on sale on March 4. They are $25 each. There will be no ticket sales at the door.
Editor’s Note –This story was written by Mike Hutchens of the Union City Messenger and the Weakley County Press.