Courier Sports Writer
Cannon County athletic director and Lions high school basketball coach Matt Rigsby sat down with the Cannon Courier for a special Q and A on the state of the program heading into the upcoming 2016-17 school year.
Here are the results of the conversation, and we thank him for his time.
1. How excited is the Cannon County athletic program about the start of a new school year?
MR: Fall sports are right around the corner. Girls' soccer and football are working hard as we speak. We are still actively searching for a volleyball coach. The cheerleaders have really worked throughout the summer nonstop.
2. What was your overall assessment of the spring sports season?
MR: What stands out to me is the middle grade softball, and the baseball with their win total, and how they completed very well in district play. Coach Tenpenny and Novoa, now have a year under their belt to build their soccer program. Spring sports handled their own for the most part.
3. What goals do you have for the athletic program this fall and winter?
MR: For football is to go to the playoffs for sure as a long term goal. Short term goal is solidify the volleyball position with a coach. We are thankful to Linda Cook on how she was able to sustain that program throughout the past several years. Girls Soccer head coach Dorinda Walker does a great job. We are thankful to have her back as a head coach. She has big numbers out for her team, so it should be an interesting and competitive fall sports season.
4. What would it take to improve from last year in the fall and winter sports?
MR: In football, we got to get the kids out, and the numbers are up. In terms of girls' soccer and volleyball, it goes back to the middle grades conversation. We need to get those up and running too for these kids coming in as a ninth grader more skilled and more prepared.
5. The program lost a lot of talented seniors to graduation, but how excited are you about the future, especially with the incoming freshman coming in?
MR: With basketball last year, Coach Jonathan Odom and myself, we were so young. We had a lot of seniors, who played a lot of minutes, but at the end of the day we were running out freshman and sophomores guards. Basketball is a guard-oriented sport. You graduate players every year, but with one leaving. One more figures it out, and matures and has a great off-season workout and individually get their skills better. Another one steps in to fill their place.
6. Why has the cross country team been so good at the elementary, middle grade, and high school level? How proud are you in the short amount of time they are already competing in the state at all three levels?
MR: Coaches Larson and Elrod what they have done is amazing. You see the kids running at the park from all ages now. As a PE teacher, I cannot tell you how proud that makes me. To see that in terms of the health of our youth in the community. They have done a tremendous job, and they will continue to do a tremendous job with the program and compete at a high level year in, year out.
7. What are some future goals of the overall athletic program between now and the spring?
MR: Number One, as an athletic program we will sit down before school starts and really focus on our student section. We need to get more student involvement and building school spirit, team pride that way including filling the gym. We really need a better effort on doing some things and thinking outside the box, and how to get some more enthusiasm around our athletic program, regarding the students.