Rigsby has done admirable job coaching Lions

TONY STINNETT, Courier Sports Editor


Cannon County boys basketball coach Matt Rigsby was not voted the District 8-AA Coach of the Year and that’s a shame.
Don’t get me wrong. It is hard to argue with Livingston Academy Head Coach Jimmy Miller, who won the award. Miller
lost a wealth of talent from last year’s championship team.

But the Wildcats also returned Player of the Year Wade Eldridge and senior guard Trent Nivens who teamed to help lead the Wildcats to the previous title.

After back-to-back losing seasons generated by growing pains after losing a bulk of talent from its Substate team four
years ago, the Lions stormed back with a vengeance in 2013-14. They ended the regular season with 24 wins, a share of
the District 8-AA championship for the first time since 1998 and a No. 6 ranking in the Associated Press Class AA poll.
Kudos to Rigsby for his patience in building this team over the past two seasons. This year has been in the making
for the last two seasons as Rigsby developed the skills of talented younger players and built for this season.

The Lions delivered. Rigsby deserves praise because he has one of, if not, the toughest jobs in District 8-AA. Unlike other teams throughout the district, Cannon County does not have a middle school to feed its high school program. Cannon County’s enrollment is also one of the smallest amongst teams in District 8-AA.

Despite limited numbers and lack of a quality feeder program, Rigsby has succeeded in building a solid program and championship contender at CCHS.

This is not said to knock quality coaches at grammar schools throughout the county. These coaches do an admirable
job as evidenced by the number that arrive at the high school level with fundamentals as part of their base. The fact remains; however, that most grammar school programs don’t even have enough players to scrimmage. Because of the
system in Cannon County it will always take time for players to develop chemistry once they reach high school. Rigsby has done a good job accelerating the process through his work with AAU programs throughout the county.

In his time as coach at Cannon County Rigsby has done as good of a job as can be expected and has turned in two
monster seasons, including this one.

Given his situation you would think intelligent coaches in 8-AA would realize his plight and honor him with Coach of
the Year honors.

Then again, one has to ponder what league coaches really know or if they at least do their homework. Cannon County is one of the top defensive teams in Tennessee, regardless of classificiaton, allowing less than 50 points per contest. The Lions easily have some of the top defensive leaders in the league yet not one Lion was represented on the All-Defensive team. One must ponder how Tommy Mitchell, Jacob Nave and Tanner Larson were not included.

As far as Larson. He was named third team all-district. To be regarded as one of the top 15 players in the league is an
honor but third team?

Larson easily should have been on the second team. His rebounding and post defense alone should have earned him
that but he is also a double-figure scoring threat.

Defense wins championships and Rigsby has his team in position entering the postseason.