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When Chris Corder landed the North Hardin girls’ basketball job, he knew it was an opportunity too good to pass up. Well, another one of those came along although Corder realized it meant giving up what he longed to do.
Corder resigned Thursday as the North Hardin coach to become an assistant principal at J.T. Alton Middle School. Hardin County Schools policy doesn’t allow principals, assistant principals and athletic directors to be head coaches.
“It was a really tough decision,” Corder said. “It’s a really good group of girls. The hardest part was meeting with them Thursday evening to tell them of my decision. The main reason it was so hard was because of them. They are special to me. They are a coach’s dream.”
But Corder realized he couldn’t do both, and in the end, he had to make the best decision for him and his family.
“Jobs like this don’t come open very often,” Corder said. “It’s much like what I said about the girls’ job when I got it. I wanted to stay in the northern end of the county. In the long run, this opportunity might not come around again. It’s really emotional, but I knew it was too good to pass up.”
Corder guided the Lady Trojans to back-to-back 20-win seasons and consecutive berths in the Girls’ 5th Region Basketball Tournament. North Hardin went 24-8, losing in the region quarterfinals to Nelson County a year after going 22-11 and reaching the region semifinals.
North Hardin athletic director James Slaven said Corder will be tough to replace.
“He seemed like he was here longer than two years,” said Slaven, who Corder replaced as head coach. “He did a good job. He inherited a good team, but he did some different things with them. I know he was disappointed with the way this year ended. But we won some tough road games this year that we were supposed to lose. That’s the sign of a good coach, winning the games you’re not supposed to win.”
With the timing of Corder’s decision, Slaven said it will be a challenge finding a replacement with less than three weeks before the new school year begins. He said he would talk to Principal Lonnie Dennis today and hope to have a coach in place in the next 10 to 14 days.
“The timing restricts and limits the pool of candidates,” Slaven said. “Those looking to go elsewhere have already gone to new places. Even assistants are committed to schools and teams for next year. If this had happened at the end of the previous season, it would be different. But this is going to be tough.”
One possible candidate is North Hardin assistant coach Nicki Coleman, who works at Vine Grove Elementary School. She has served as North Hardin’s junior varsity coach the last two years. Slaven said Coleman will act as the interim coach and run workouts.
Whoever lands the job will inherit a talented team. Although two-time Area Player of the Year Chanel Roberts graduated, the Lady Trojans return four starters – senior guards Domeneque Taft and Kiera Jones, sophomore guard Tamiah Stanford and senior forward Morgan Barrick.
Stanford was second on the team in scoring at 9.9 points per game followed by Taft at 8.2. Taft led the team in assists and steals, Stanford was second in steals and third in assists and Jones was second in assists and fourth in steals. Barrick was second on the team in rebounding.
The Lady Trojans could also get a lift from the return of senior forward Jenna Spencer, who has played in only four games the last two years because of knee injuries. Corder said Spencer didn’t play in games this summer, but “looked really good” during workouts.
Chuck Jones can be reached at (270) 505-1759 or email@example.com.