Preps: Coaching giants Falls, Nollner easing into retirement

Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 9:35pm

Two of the pillars among Nashville coaches just moved into retirement, but both plan to remain quite active, thank you.

As summer break arrived, both Jim Nollner, 70, and Glenn Falls, 73, who on the same day (April 23) announced their retirements after 40-plus years of coaching at Metro Nashville Public Schools took a look at plans they have for the rest of their lives.

Nollner has, among other things, scheduled a trip this fall halfway around the world. Falls plans to continue to work in the Metro Schools office.

“I’ve just been working in the yard,” Nollner, who had an extensive head basketball career at old North High, then Whites Creek and Antioch High, said when reached earlier this week. “I’m just getting things ready for my granddaughter’s birthday Saturday for her swimming party.

“My wife, Mary, and I joined a health club with a personal trainer. We go there three days a week. And I’m playing golf two-three times a week. Next fall, my wife and I will celebrate our anniversary with a trip to the Mediterranean where we’ll fly into Greece and travel for 10 days.”

Nollner, who also won three state titles as a track coach at Whites Creek, had a brief scare with cancer.

“I had some burning on my face, which I had doctors take a look at,” he said. “I underwent pre-cancerous treatment for it. Looks like things are OK.”

Nollner, who was an all-conference pitcher for Belmont in the 1960s, said he would continue to satisfy one of his true passions and work as a track official, adding he would return to work the Doug Hall Relays at MBA next April.

Falls’ teams won one state championship (1986) and many district championships in volleyball (including 19 in a row at one point) at Glencliff High along with a run to the state basketball finals in 1990.

“I’m working in the area of PE — wellness and health, CPR training, along with input into the ROTC program for the [Metro] Board of Education,” Falls, who came out of retirement to coach one final basketball season at Glencliff, said. “I’m planning to go to a lot of football and basketball games, something I’m looking forward to. But I won’t miss the daily grind.”

• CPA star dismissed: Vic Wharton, one of the key players in Christ Presbyterian Academy’s march to the Class AA state basketball championship in March, has been dismissed from the school.

Wharton, a guard who would have been a rising junior, made the all-state tournament team for the Lions who finished 37-2.

“He was allowed to withdraw [from CPA],” said a source close to the situation, adding that Wharton had two major violations of school policy.

Wharton, also a standout running back in football, had transferred from Knoxville Catholic last summer. He is said to be transferring to Independence High.

Wharton’s father, Vic, II, the track coach at CPA after holding the same position at Catholic last year, has also left the school.

New girls coach: Former Ezell-Harding star Kristin Bledsoe has been named the new girls basketball coach at the school, athletic director Don Freudenthal confirmed.

The former Kristin Scoggins was a standout player for the Eagles before going on to star at Trevecca Nazarene where she finished in 2006. She replaces Dan Carter who resigned recently.

• Power surge: Brentwood Academy slugger Will Haynie reached his preseason goal when he belted his 15th home run, which set a school record, last month during the tournaments. He also finished with 39 RBIs.

Haynie, a star junior pitcher and catcher, broke the mark of 13, set in 2001 by Clay Peterson, who became and All Atlantic-Sun Conference performer at Belmont from 2002-05. He had nine homers last season as a sophomore.

Haynie, a rising senior, is being heavily recruited by many DI schools.

• Collins named coach: Former Whites Creek and Belmont star Brian Collins has been named men’s basketball coach at Columbia State. He was an assistant at Cumberland University the past three seasons.

Coming to Cumberland: Jamison Manning of Donelson Christian Academy has signed to wrestle with Cumberland University in Lebanon.

Manning was a four-year letterman at DCA, compiling a 25-7 record as a senior. He also lettered three years in football, three in baseball and one in soccer.

Cumberland also announced the signings of Independence High’s Kallee Thornton and Gallatin’s Ashton Williams to soccer scholarships.

• Coutras Award: Dustin Binkley of Maplewood recently was named winner of the eighth annual Nick Coutras Award, an honor given to a Nashville area football player.

Binkley, who also won the prestigious Hume Award in December, received a $5,000 scholarship.

Board member Chris Coutras said the other finalists were: Adam Davenport of Riverdale, Conner Lunsford of Brentwood Academy, DeMarco Moore of Antioch, John Strickland of Blackman and Rico Watson of Ensworth.

• Back home: Keith Smith, who led David Lipscomb High School to the 2011 Class AA state baseball championship and signed with Freed-Hardeman, has returned home.

Smith, th son of Lipscomb High baseball coach Ernie Smith, played one season at Freed, then decided to enroll at Lipscomb University as a sophomore. He likely won’t play baseball.

• White House hires: Gary Smith, who coached at Battle Ground Academy 36 years, and former all-state Madison High scoring star and ex-Franklin coach Pam Chambers Compton have been named the boys and girls basketball coaches at White House High.

Smith’s BGA teams won state titles in 1993 and 1994. Compton guided Franklin to consecutive trips to state tournament in the mid-1990s.

• TSSAA meeting: The TSSAA Board of Control meets next week, Tuesday through Thursday, in Murfreesboro. Among the topics will be the sites of next season’s region and state volleyball tournaments.