By Trey Williams
Longtime David Crockett baseball coach Scott Hagy had rounded third and was headed home when he realized he’d like another trip to the plate.
Hagy was named the coach at Daniel Boone last week, two years after his resignation concluded a 20-year career at Crockett.
“This was not in the plans,” said Hagy, who began teaching at Boone last year. “Honestly, when I got out two years ago I thought, ‘I’m gonna stay out.’ I really thought I was gonna retire from education altogether. And I got to it and – I’m not ready. I don’t want to retire, and this opportunity presented itself.
“I kind of go back to that old quote by George Bernard Shaw: ‘We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.’ You know, it makes a ton of sense if you think about it.”
Rising Daniel Boone senior Cade Elliott will surely have Hagy feeling young at heart frequently next spring. The 6-foot-6 two-way player is committed to Tennessee and a coveted left-handed pitcher.
Some have likened Elliott, in terms of talent and friendly personality, to former East Tennessee State star Clint Freeman, who helped Hagy’s Pioneers to back-to-back sectional berths (2009-10).
“From everything that I can gather, yes (they’re very similar),” Hagy said. “They’re traveling the same road, it looks like. Cade’s played awfully well up to this point. The upside for him, being a big, strong, lean kid like he is, I mean he’s got a lot of potential.”
Boone also returns center fielder-leadoff batter Brody Goodman and right fielder-cleanup hitter Colby Backus. Boone split with Science Hill, Dobyns-Bennett and Tennessee High this season en route to a No. 3 seed for the District 1-AAA tournament. Science Hill advanced to the state and Tennessee High reached the sectional, where it lost 2-0 to eventual state champion Farragut.
“We’re gonna play for one thing, and that’s to win the conference,” Hagy said. “I do know what it takes to advance and to move on, and I think with the returning group of players who are there … it’ll be interesting to see how it unfolds. We’re gonna have to have some young kids step up. … But according to the staff that’s already there and everything I know about ‘em, there are people in line to replace ‘em.”
Hagy played for John McKamey and Dave Rutherford at Sullivan East (class of 1983). He started teaching in 1988 at Mary Hughes Middle School, where he coached former David Crockett principal Andy Hare.
He’s been an assistant football coach, assistant basketball coach and athletic director at Crockett.
It all helped his cause for a position that Texas Rangers instructor Danny Clark had initially considered, and another former Milligan coach, Bernie Young, who won a state title in 1998 at Science Hill, showed interest in late in the process.
“The search committee for this position sought to find the most qualified, experienced, and dedicated educator possible,” Boone athletic director Danny Good said. “These factors ultimately led to the hiring of Coach Hagy. During his span of nearly 30 years of service to Washington County Schools, Coach Hagy has served for 20 years as a baseball head coach, athletic director, administrator, and teacher.”
Hagy’s last meeting with Boone was a 5-4 Crockett victory in the 2017 district tournament. The previous year Boone ended Crockett’s season with a 16-12 triumph in the district.
With all the dust settled, Hagy would rather talk about the type of person Hoover is than their clashes on the diamond. Hoover resigned to concentrate on being a minister.
“I can’t say enough good things about Rob Hoover,” Hagy said. “He’s just a tremendous man and he’s a pleasure to work with in school. And I think anybody in that building would tell you the same thing.
“And we butted heads a lot in district tournament games and regular season games, close wins and close losses. But he’s just a fine individual. You’re not gonna find a better person.”
Hagy said it will be “surreal” to be in Boone’s dugout the next time it plays Crockett. Certainly, he’ll have to change his signs during games.
Crockett flirted with state tournament berths twice with Hagy. Boone should have a chance to make a run next season.
“I know Rob was extremely excited for this group of upcoming seniors,” Hagy said. “Obviously, you’ve got the returning Big Seven Player of the Year and a Tennessee commit. That makes a big difference. Even four years ago when I was on the other side of the county, they were excited about this group coming in as a freshmen. There’s high expectations for ‘em.”
It’s too soon for Hagy to guess at how this Boone team might stack up with some of his better Crockett teams.
“South put us out in ’08 to advance,” Hagy said. “That was a tough loss for us, but they were pretty good that year. In 2002 we finished up really strong. We didn’t advance, but we made some noise. We finished second in ’05 in the conference and got put out in the first round of the tournament by East. We had some good teams over the years, and some years were lean.”
Hagy thanked Good and Boone principal Tim Campbell for their confidence in him, and he seems to sense that fate’s going to continue smiling on him.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Hagy said. “I’m excited. … It’s one of those things where you get put in a position, and you feel like you’re there for a reason.”