Jerry Pigue remembers the first time he met James “Bubba” Spears.
“I was coaching over at Two Rivers before I went to Stratford in 1970, and this young upstart walks up to me and tells me he’s going to be my quarterback,’’ Pigue said, recalling the conversation they had when Spears was in the eighth grade.
“Two people told me back then what they were going to do – Bubba was going to be my quarterback, and Denny Boguskie (son of old Cumberland High star, Nashville Vol and city councilman Buster Boguskie) was going to be my team manager – and that’s exactly what happened,’’ he said.
After Spears finished his senior season at Stratford in 1975, he and Pigue remained close through the years. They coached against each other as head coaches when Spears was at Stratford and Pigue was at Hunters Lane in the 1990s. Spears says he won every game against his old coach.
A lot of time has passed since then. But what goes around just came back around — Pigue is joining Spears, who was named head coach recently, on the coaching staff at East Literature Magnet, which is starting a football program. The move became official over the weekend.
Spears is head coach in title and will probably be a little more involved in the offense and Pigue a little more with defense. But in truth, the two will work very closely together.
“He’s already told me he doesn’t want to have to pull rank on me,’’ Pigue said, laughing about who was in charge. “Neither of us has any big ego. We’re both going to try to do best we can to make a difference."
Spears was head coach at Stratford from 1992-98. He was an assistant at McGavock (1999-05) and recently went over to Hunters Lane where he worked with quarterbacks under head coach Richard Campbell and also served as the Warriors’ baseball coach. His team plays today in the district tourney at McGavock.
Pigue was head coach at Stratford (1970-85) and at Hunters Lane (1986-2002), both for 16 years. He started the Hunters Lane program when the school opened in 1986. The Stadium is named after him and affectionately called the “Pigue-Pen."
Pigue has continued to coach well past his normal retirement age. He was an assistant at Wilson Central last year and – “recently, I’ve also worked with my son Daniel, who is coaching the age 11-12 Old Hickory BullDawgs,’’ he said laughing.
Spears is 50. Pigue will be 69 June 19. Both have three grandchildren each. Their families remain close. Pigue and wife Sandra celebrate their 50th anniversary June 5.
“I had a veteran coach recently ask me why I was going to help start up a new program at my age,’’ Pigue said. “I asked him why he went to some schools that were down or in a rebuilding phase. You love kids and you want to make a difference, and that’s what I’m trying to do here with Bubba."
The two are trying to revive a program on the field of old East High, which last had a football team in 1986. “When I was coaching Stratford, we had some wars with them down there,’’ Pigue said, pointing to the field, which is currently used for soccer. The completion of a stadium is expected for the ’09 season.
Spears said East Lit will play four varsity and six JV games this coming season, with home games at old TPS. The opener is Thursday, Aug. 28 vs. the new Caine Ridge junior varsity.
“I owe everything to (East Lit) principal Fran Stewart, AD Billy Whittaker and (basketball coach) Jim Fey for this job, I wouldn’t be here without them,’’ said Spears, who was chosen coach among 12 candidates.
“We still have a lot of work to do in terms of our football facilities and weight room,’’ said Spears. Anyone who wants to help in regards to funding and assistance is asked to E-Mail him at J.Spears@mnps.org .
MOSS-OLIVER AWARDS: Finalists for the annual Moss-Oliver awards include: Girls — Anna Bowers (Ensworth), Logan Miller (CPA) and Rachael Reynolds (Ryan). Boys were — Joshua Henley (Hunters Lane), Caden Anderson (Nashville Christian School) and Jake Peterson (CPA). The two winners will be announced following an 11:30 a.m. luncheon Wednesday at Swett’s Restaurant.
SUB-REGION TRACK: The A/AA Middle Region track meet has divided into two sub-sections, to be held at old TPS, hosted by ML King (East) and at Lipscomb (West) on Tuesday and Thursday.
The sectional finals will be held at Lipscomb May 13 (field event finals and 3200 run finals) and May 15 (running event finals). Top finishers qualify for state.
The DII Middle Region decathlon will be held at MBA, beginning today (pentathlon finals) and Tuesday (decathlon finals). The DII running and field events are also at MBA May 13, 14 and 16.
EZELL’S QUEEN BELTS SEVENTH: Ezell-Harding senior first baseman Samantha (Sam) Queen slammed two more home runs recently in Eagle wins over Lipscomb and East Lit, giving her seven for the season. The regular season champ, Ezell is top seed for this week’s District 9-AA tournament at Trevecca.
MBA TENNIS: With wins over Ensworth and Chattanooga Baylor, MBA (11-2) heads into the DII region tennis tournament on Saturday and Sunday in Chattanooga with a full head of steam. Coach Zac Hood credited the recent surge to the strong play of Russ Anderson and Richard Brunsting.
LANCE FUNERAL TODAY: The funeral for Nashville’s Bobby Lance, who died last week at age 75 while playing tennis, will be held today at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 4715 Harding Pike. Visitation is at 12:30 p.m., funeral at 1:30. He was a former star football and track athlete at MBA, Kingsport Dobyns Bennett and Florida in the 1950s.
FRANKLIN NAMES COACH: Franklin High named Stan Eggleston, a former Brentwood assistant, as its new girls basketball coach last week. He replaces Grover Levy, who was the Rebel coach the past two years.
RYAN’S WIESMAN SIGNS: Father Ryan’s Linsie Wiesman signed with Sewanee on an academic scholarship to play basketball last Wednesday. Last week, Ryan’s Matt Nichols signed with Carson-Newman and Kevin Mix signed with Kentucky Christian for football.
Also, five Ryan swimmers were named National Interscholastic Coaches Association Academic All-Americans – Molly Arthur, Jessica Copeland, Ellen Pigott, Ben Wathen and Leah Wise.