Jody Bingham has been hired to take over the tennis program at Central Hardin.
“I resigned at North Hardin around the fifth of June and Jeff Crady resigned about a week later,” Bingham said. “We both had our reasons for resigning, but we both loved what we did and where we were at. Sometimes things change and there was an interest for me to apply for the job. I was interested for various reasons.
“When I first came to Elizabethtown almost 20 years ago I was interested in that job, but there were no openings.”
Bingham stepped down at North Hardin after five years on his second tenure with the program and helped elevate the girls’ program to the next level.
“I’m glad we won some championships, but the championships are not as important as the relationships you make with people,” said Bingham, who was first named coach at North Hardin in 2000. “I’m more proud of some of the relationships that I was able to make with some of my players, some of the parents, my competitors and some of my rivals. I was able to go through that whole competition with a lot of players and watch a lot of young people graduate, and not only be successful in the classroom, but a lot of those kids went on to play college tennis.
“I’ve been able to make strong relationships with people because of the way things have been handled on and off the court. I’ll put the winning second. Winning was great to see the kids succeed. A lot of great things happened in the last five years with coaches, players, parents and administrators. Winning three championships in a row with the girls was great. That’s not easily done, especially against a storied program like Elizabethtown that’s won for years.”
Bingham takes over for Crady, who stepped down after guiding the Central Hardin boys to the region championship two months ago.
“Jeff Crady is one of the best coaches I’ve ever worked with, and I worked against,” Bingham said. “I talked to him and he is going to remain in the staff as an assistant coach. He’ll help with coaching at the conference and region and state tournaments. He’s also going to have a lot of responsibility of fundraising and the reconstruction of the tennis courts. He’s not going to be an everyday coach. He wants to spend time with his children, and at the same time still be a part of and affiliated with the program. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have Jeff Crady on staff with me.
“The AD (J.C. Wright) and the principal (Tim Isaacs) feel I can do this and with Jeff there, he’ll be the liaison at the school — to have him there will make my job a lot easier. I’m glad to have Jeff in any capacity he wants.”
Bingham commutes daily to Louisville Valley High School, where he teaches digital literacy at the freshman academy.
“The commute is great,” he said. “It’s only about 35 to 27 minutes to Valley. What’s so special is that some of my friends who teach at Valley that live on the east end of Louisville, I can get to Valley faster than they can. Valley starts at 7:30 and is done at 2:20, so a lot of times I can be back in Hardin County before 3 o’clock.”
While the Central Hardin boys just won a region title, the girls have never won one.
“It’s something we have to work at the get better to take the next step there,” Bingham said. The deep girls’ program only lost Tatum Cox to graduation.
Bingham also will have John Board on staff as an assistant coach.
“He is going to be the main assistant now that Jeff has put himself in a place that he wants to be,” Bingham said. “It’s a dream come true for John and I to work together. He’s been a close friend for a long, long time. He just loves to be around young people. He loves tennis and he and I share a lot of the same philosophies about coaching. He has a hard work ethic. He’s been my partner in training kids in the offseason also.
“Most of the decisions I’ll make I’ll have his ear in on it to make sure I’m making the right decision. He did a great job last year with the program. He had a major hand in a lot of the successes the kids had. I can’t tell you how happy I am to get the opportunity to coach with John Board.”