MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

June 17, 2013

Warner, Checotah enter the coaching carousel

By Ronn Rowland
Phoenix Sports Writer

— Even though the school year is over, the coaching carousel is continuing and now Checotah and Warner are looking to fill voids.

Warner is seeking a new baseball and fastpitch softball coach as Jason Edwards has left the Eagles’ program to become the head baseball and fastpitch softball coach at Sallisaw Central. Edwards was set to become the fastpitch coach this fall before he took the job at Sallisaw Central.

“It was a better situation for my family,” Edwards said. “I was happy at Warner but the location of Central and my family was the main factor for the move.”

Edwards leaves after five seasons with a 119-52 record, a Class 2A district championship in each of the last four seasons and a berth in the regional finals in 2011. He said the decision to move on was not an easy one.

“This was a tough decision,” Edwards said. “Warner’s been good to me. I was pretty attached to the kids here.”

A search is already underway and Warner athletic director Chris McMullen hopes a new coach can be in place soon.

“We’re going to begin interviews the first part of next week,” McMullen said. “Hopefully we’ll have someone in place by the first part of August at the very latest, if not sooner.”

Meanwhile, Checotah is in the market for its fifth girls basketball coach since 2008 as Vaughn Blankenship resigned to accept the boys basketball position at Morris. Blankenship replaces Bobby Allison, who served under Terry Scott at Muskogee for three seasons and had been at Morris for two seasons. Allison is the new coach at Tulsa Memorial.

The revolving door began when Lucky Tarkington came out of retirement to coach the Lady Wildcats for the 2008-09 season. Neil Hays took over in 2009 and was there for 2 1/2 seasons before resigning in January of 2012. Mickey Duncan filled out the remainder of that season then Blankenship was hired last summer to become the coach.

“We’re looking for someone to come here and stay,” said Checotah athletics director Brian Terry. “Hopefully our new gym will help keep somebody here. That’s our ultimate goal.”